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SBNation.com – All Posts: Wyndham Clark shocking U.S. Open triumph, outlasts Rory McIlroy as Rickie Fowler fades


Wyndham Clark, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
LOS ANGELES — Wyndham Clark reacts to his winning putt on the 18th green during the final round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 18, 2023. | Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Wyndham Clark captured his first major championship at the Los Angeles Country Club as he won the 123rd U.S. Open by one stroke.

Wyndham Clark outlasted some of the biggest stars in golf in the bright lights of Beverly Hills.

At the Los Angeles Country Club, Clark conquered the North Course to win the 123rd U.S. Open by a shot, the first major championship victory of his career.

He entered Sunday’s final round as the 54-hole co-leader as he and Rickie Fowler sat at 10-under par.

Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, the biggest stars on the PGA Tour, lurked not too far behind.

That did not phase him.

Clark birdied the opening hole but gave it right back at the second with his first bogey of the day.

Wyndham Clark, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES — Wyndham Clark and his caddie John Ellis line up a putt on the 14th green during the final round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 18, 2023.

Again, that minor setback did not phase the U.S. Open Champion.

Two holes later, at the long par-3 4th, Clark hit one of the shots of the day. He laced a long iron to five feet, making his presence known to the entire golfing world.

Then at the 8th hole, Clark pulled his second shot left into the barranca, as his ball disappeared into gnarly rough.

He whiffed his third. He literally whiffed, costing a stroke.

For someone who lacks major championship experience, Clark could have easily faded away right then and there.

Instead, he got up and down brilliantly and saved a bogey.

“Even though I made a bogey and it looked like I should have made a birdie or par, making bogey there didn’t kill me and kept me in the tournament,” Clark said after the round. “That was a huge point in the round.”

To win U.S. Opens, the old adage is that players must avoid making double-bogeys and must avoid three-putts.

He followed that mantra all day.

At the par-3 9th, Clark’s tee shot sailed into some tall grass adjacent to the left greenside bunker. He proceeded to get up and down and save par.

Like the 9th, Clark missed the green at the long par-3 11th. Once again, Clark relied on his exquisite short game to make a round-saving par.

But the shot of the day came at the long-par 5 14th, where Clark reached the green in two.

First the twirl on Saturday, now this. Wyndham Clark clearly loves the moment. Shot of the event (maybe the season). pic.twitter.com/Mmrnv6Gr02

— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 19, 2023

With McIlroy making a bogey at 14 ahead of him, Clark felt compelled to take advantage.

He did exactly that and two-putted for birdie to give him a comfortable cushion.

Clark then bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes, but again, those minor setbacks did not phase him.

On the 17th, after hitting another terrific tee shot, Clark pulled his tee shot left of the green.

He chipped his third just inches from the hole, making another stress-free par.

On the 18th, he held a one-shot lead.

Wyndham Clark, Los Angeles, 123rd U.S. Open Championship
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES — Wyndham Clark reacts with the trophy after winning during the final round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club on June 18, 2023.

That did not phase him either.

He put his drive in the fairway on the last hole, hit his second shot on the front of the green, and then two-putted for the one-shot victory.

Nothing phased Wyndham Clark all day long. He deserved to win the U.S. Open as he notched the biggest “Wyn” of his career.

“I feel like I belong on this stage,” Clark said after the round. “Even two or three years ago when people didn’t know who I was, I felt like I could still play and compete against the best players in the world. I felt like I’ve shown that this year.”

Indeed he has.

The stars faded away in the bright lights of Los Angeles, but Clark proved to the world that he belongs on golf’s biggest stage. He is a “Wynner” in the truest sense.

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