Northern Ireland

Hundreds to welcome Darren Clarke home to Portrush

Darren Clarke with the Open trophy
Image caption Darren Clarke kisses the Claret Jug after his Open triumph

Hundreds of golf fans are expected to converge on Royal Portrush golf club later for Darren Clarke's official homecoming.

Although originally from Dungannon, he now lives in Portrush and it is there that the celebrations will take place.

The golfer returned to Northern Ireland on Monday after his triumph at the British Open.

Clarke clinched his maiden major title with a three-shot victory at Royal St George's in Kent.

He flew into Belfast City Airport at lunchtime on Monday accompanied by the Claret Jug - the most famous trophy in golf.

He was then reunited with his two sons before showing off the trophy at a hotel in Portballintrae on the north coast.

Scowl

Reflecting on his victory, he said: "I think I'm definitely a better player now than I was 10 years ago and yes I definitely appreciate an awful lot more what I've achieved now than what I did then.

"Ten years ago I did take an awful lot of things for granted.

"It's much easier to perform well with a smile on your face than a scowl on your face."

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers led the tributes following the 42-year-old's success on Sunday.

First Minister Peter Robinson said there was "no more deserving or popular a winner than Darren".

His father Godfrey Clarke described his son's achievement as "absolutely marvellous".

"It is another one for Northern Ireland and I couldn't really put it into words," he said.

"We are totally over the moon for him and all the family."

Clarke began his career at Dungannon Golf Club in County Tyrone and is an honorary life member there.

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