Darren Clarke, the defending champion of the Open Championship, is praying for the weather to take a turn for the worse tomorrow as he bids to make the halfway cut after he shot 76, six over par, in the first round.

Clarke, 43, who won the Open at Royal St. George’s last year when wind and rain buffeted and soaked the golfers for four days, sits in a tie for 143rd in the 2012 Open after today’s first round.

“For me to stand any chance of getting back onto the tournament I need there to be a bit of bad weather, like we had at the start if the week,” said Clarke this evening, as he spoke at a function for guests of Open patron Mercedes-Benz.
“Yesterday was supposed to be horrific weather, but it turned out to be okay, so I don’t think the forecasters know what is going on. I need there to be a bit of a breeze for me to get a good round in.”

The latest forecast from the Met Office states that there is a 70% chance of showers between 6am and 10am tomorrow morning, with variable winds, with the weather improving as the days goes on, with sunny spells expected in the afternoon. Clarke tees off at 2:10pm in the second round, so he may at least play his round in the best of the day’s weather.

“After a bad round today I need to go out and play well, but the tough thing with Lytham is that if you try to attack the course, there are so many bunkers that one mistake can lead to a double bogey, so I am still going to have to play smart, and I will have to putt a lot better than I did today. I did not make anything today – I only had two single putts – one from a foot and one from four feet, and that was it. At this level you can’t afford to do that – you have got to make some putts and I wasn’t doing that today.

“Hopefully tomorrow I will go out and get a better feel for the greens, and knock in a few putts early on if I can.”

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, patron of the 2012 Open Championship