LOS ANGELES—Wyndham Clark captured the first major championship of his career on Sunday, June, 18 as he held off Rory McIlroy to win the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club. It was the first time in 75 years the U.S. Open was held in Los Angeles.
Clark shot a 10-under for the tournament, and McIlroy finished one stroke behind him. Clark, 29, will receive $3.6 million for his win as his stock continues to grow. Clark had only made about $11.5 million for his career when he entered the tournament. He also had one win on his resume on the PGA Tour. It came in May when he won the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I just felt like my mom was watching over me today,” Clark said. “I worked so hard and dreamed about this moment for so long. I just felt like it was my time.”
In 2013, Clark’s mother, Lise, died from breast cancer. He was playing at powerhouse Oklahoma State at the time, and he almost quit the game of golf.
Only up one stroke on the 18th, Clark had a decent approach on his tee shot. He made the green on his second, and on his third, he got within a few feet of the cup. He would save par and start the celebrations.
Rory McIlroy was on Clark’s tail the entire fourth round, but a crucial shot on 14th gave Clark some distance. McIlroy hit a shot into the rough part of the bunker and was given a free drop. He had an opportunity to salvage par but missed.
His final putt rolled in at 18 on Sunday to secure his U.S. Open win, he showed those depths to the world.
Entering the back nine, things seemed to be lining up well for Rory. Scottie Scheffler, who entered Sunday three shots back of the lead, had fallen away. Former co-leader Rickie Fowler, who was plus-2 on the front. That left Rory and Clark to duel it out.
The putter was difficult for him on Sunday—he hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation but managed only one birdie.
The Los Angeles Country Club hosted its first major championship this week, and the first U.S. Open in Los Angeles in 75 years. And despite an opening round in which both Fowler and Xander Schauffele shot record-low 62s, LACC largely delivered a challenging test.
It was bewildering that a golf course collected so many divots so close to each other.
It’s a fascinating course that with a few modifications including more fans in attendance could become a staple on the U.S. Open calendar.
Congrats to the PGA Tour on getting a week where people mostly forgot they just took a deal with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and forever changed the sport of golf.