Clarke reaches world No 1 after Japan Open triumph

New world No 1 Ben Clarke
New world No 1 Ben Clarke

Berkhamsted’s Ben Clarke is now the FootGolf world No 1 after winning the Japan Open.

It’s been a marquee year for the 26-year-old since he quit his job as a PE teacher in March to become the UK’s first professional FootGolfer,

It gave him the time to focus on the World Tour in one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.

Clarke only started playing in 2014 and has very quickly established himself as one of the world’s best players, winning a string of UK and European honours along the way.

Going pro was a huge gamble for Clarke, who has self-funded playing on the FIFG World Tour to realise his dream while also trying hard to find sponsors.

The gamble now appears to have paid off and with the season drawing to a close Ben now tops the world rankings following his sublime victory at a very wet Japan Open in Karuizawa, the fifth and final major of the season.

The world’s top players were all in attendance at the three-day event and Clarke was looking to overtake fellow Brit Jamie Cullum, the world No 1 going into the event.

To topple Cullum, he needed to win the event.

On day one Clarke carded +5, on day two -2 and the final day scored +2, to eventually beat world No 3 Antonia Ballestra of France, and No 9 Nico Garcia, of Argentina, by just one single shot.

Clarke is now leading Cullum by 177.22 points and is in pole position to be crowned the first-ever FIFG World Champion when the season concludes in just a few weeks’ time.

It has been a great year for Clarke as he also helped Team UK win the inaugural Jansen Cup against Team USA, captaining England to a double-header victory over Scotland, and also helping Team UK to become the European Champions.

He is now trying to focus his efforts on the 2018 World Tour and is on the look out for companies that would be willing to sponsor him.

The sport is now receiving more TV coverage both nationally and internationally.

For more information email gareth@simplyfoot