Clarke's slip hands Schwartzel title

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Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel came from behind to win the China Nanshan Masters by one shot yesterday after a costly late slip by Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke.

Clarke and China's Liang Wenchong started the final round of the US$1 million OneAsia Tour event in Shandong Province three clear of Schwartzel but the South African shot a brilliant final-round 4-under 68 for a 9-under total to pip the pair.

It was a first title of the year for Schwartzel, who has now won on the US PGA, European, Sunshine, Asian and OneAsia circuits.

"I never thought I was out of it, for any second. It's a matter of staying in there, hitting good golf shots and controlling your own destiny," the 2011 Masters champion said. "I've played a lot of golf tournaments and done a lot of travelling in the past few months and it felt like I've been playing really good golf with no results, so it's nice to have something finally go your way."

Clarke was level with Schwartzel at 9-under standing on the 17th tee but the 2011 British Open champion struck a wayward tee shot and bogeyed the par-3 hole.

The 45-year-old, who has not won since his sole major triumph, and defending champion Liang both failed to find a birdie on the last and finished with level-par rounds of 72.

"I'm obviously disappointed with the day — it was another one of those days on the greens again where I couldn't buy a putt from anywhere," Clarke said.

In Kuala Lumpur, American teenager Lexi Thompson shot a 2-under 69 yesterday to comfortably win the LPGA Malaysia by four strokes.

The 18-year-old, who won her second career LPGA title and first of the season, finished on 19-under 265 to end the South Korean dominance at the event.

Kang Ji-min won the inaugural event in 2010 before compatriots Choi Na-yeon and the top-ranked Park In-bee followed the next two years.

Chinese star Feng Shanshan was second on 269 after carding a 67 while Korean Lee Il-hee, leader after the first two rounds, ended tied for third with second-ranked Suzann Pettersen of Norway, three strokes further back.

It was the second career tour victory for Thompson, who also won the Navistar LPGA Classic 2011. "Words can't even describe the feeling I have right now," said Thompson. "It's sort of like a rerun from Navistar, just having that feeling walking up to the 18th green, embracing the fans and just knowing you have the win under your belt.

"It's very big, I have worked so hard between this whole last year since Navistar, it pays off and means so much to me."

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