Clarke shoots to another top-4 finish

"By BOB COLEMANSports editorIan Clarke's handicap is a miniscule 1.5 and dropping. Over his last five round, the Federal Way High sophomore has shot rounds of 71, 71, 72, 73 and 70.The final three rounds came in the International Junior Golf Tour National Tournament at the Grand Cypress Resorts Golf Course in Orlando, Fla., on May 27-29.Clarke, 16, placed third in the tournament in his first three-round tournament with a 216 total.I just felt happy to be there because I got invited, said Clarke, who calls the Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club his home course. I thought if I played good that was just a bonus and I happened to.Clarke's pair of 71's came in the Class 4A high school golf tournament at the Sudden Valley Golf Course in Bellingham on May 22 and 23. He didn't have much time to enjoy his fourth-place finish, having to jet to Florida on May 24.He played two practiced rounds on Thursday and Friday of that week and the tournament started on that Saturday.Clarke needed those two practice days to prepare for the heat and the Bermuda grass on the greens.The weather was high 90's to 100 degrees and humid, Clarke said. I could not read them (the greens) very well. They're not the grasses that we have here. I need practice.The grass didn't seem to affect his score much, however. The low light of his three rounds was a double bogie on the second day. After the first and second rounds, he was on the edge of the top-10 of the standings.The only bad thing was on the second day I had a double bogey, Clarke said. He didn't bury an eagle as he did in the state tournament earlier in the week, but Clarke knocked down six birdies in the final round. It will just give me confidence that I played well against so many other great players, Clarke said.He'll use that confidence in his preparation for the USJGA qualifying at Canterwood Golf Course on June 19 and in the American Junior Golf Association tournament at the Landon Farms Golf Course in Oregon on June 26-27.Clarke will also play a full schedule of Washington Junior Golf Association tournemants this summer. He tied for 10th in the WJGA state tournament in the 14-15 age group last summer. This year he moves up to the 16-17 age group."

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