• Kyodo

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European Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke shot a solid 4-under-par 68 to capture his first victory of the season at the Mitsui-Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters on Sunday.

Teeing off four shots clear, the 36-year-old from Northern Ireland overcame a bogey with five birdies at Taiheiyo Club for a six-stroke win over Japan’s Nozomi Kawahara and fellow Briton Lee Westwood on a tournament record 22-under 266.

Clarke, one of the heroes of Europe’s Ryder Cup win over the United States in September, earned 30 million yen in prize money for his first victory in Japan since winning the 2001 Chunichi Crowns.

“I had a four-shot lead so I didn’t think I’d have too much trouble winning but you never know what can happen. I gave it my all today and thought my short game was good,” said Clarke, who led from the first round.

Hidemasa Hoshino was another two strokes back with Hideki Kase.

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