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wyndham clark

‘I belong on this stage’: Wyndham Clark topples Rory McIlroy to win US Open

Wyndham Clark dedicated his US Open victory to his mother who passed away 10 years ago after overcoming Rory McIlroy and some of the world’s best players at Los Angeles Country Club

 

Wyndham Clark proved he belongs on the biggest stage in professional golf after beating Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, and Cameron Smith to win the US Open.

Despite carding just a level par 70 at Los Angeles Country Club, this was enough to pile more major misery on McIlroy whose wait for a fifth major title still goes on – but Clark’s performance was stunning.

The 29-year-old shared an emotional embrace with his caddie John Ellis after rolling in the winning putt on the 18th hole, remembering his mother Lise who passed away of breast cancer in 2013 and also Ellis’ late father on a very poignant Father’s Day.

It was only in May when Clark won his first PGA Tour title at the Wells Fargo Championship, and now, he is a major champion after finishing one shot ahead of McIlroy on 10-under-par.

“I feel like I belong on this stage, and even two, 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,” Clark said. “I felt like I’ve shown that this year.

“I’ve come up close, and obviously everyone sees the person that hoists the trophy, but I’ve been trending in the right direction for a long time now.

“I’ve made a lot of cuts. I’ve had a handful of top 10s and top 20s, and I feel like I’ve been on a great trajectory to get to this place.

“Obviously it’s gone faster than I thought as far as just starting to do some stuff mentally that I’ve never done before, but I feel like I’m one of the best players in the world. Obviously, this just shows what I believe can happen.”

“I know my mum is proud of me,” he added. “She’s always been proud of me, regardless of how I’m doing or what I’m doing. I just wish she could be here and we could enjoy this.

“It’s been a pretty amazing week because my mum lived in LA for a few years and I’ve had some people come up to me and show pictures of my mum when they knew her back in her 20s and early 30s when she was living here.

“That just happened this week, so it was a special vibe all week being here in LA. My parents got married at Riviera Country Club. I have some roots in this area.”

“All I really wish is that my mum could be here and I could just hug her and we could celebrate together. But I know she’s proud of me.”

Clark overcame adversity more than once in the final round at LACC.

He limited the damage on hole 8 to a bogey after needing two shots to get out of thick rough, and he saved par on the par-3 9th after finding tough grass on the edge of the greenside bunker.

Further bogeys on 15 and 16 followed, which cut his three-shot lead with four holes play to just a single stroke.

But McIlroy failed to land a blow. His only birdie came on the 1st hole – he made 16 pars and one bogey after that in what will go down as another major trophy that got away.

The Northern Irishman’s last major triumph still remains the PGA Championship in 2014.

“The last real two chances I’ve had at majors I feel like have been pretty similar performances, like St Andrews last year and then here,” McIlroy said.

“Not doing a lot wrong, but I didn’t make a birdie since the first hole today. Just trying to be a little more efficient with my opportunities and my looks.

“Again, overall when you’re in contention going into the final round of a US Open, I played the way I wanted to play. There was just a couple of shots, two or three shots over the course of the round that I’d like to have back.”

Three bogeys on Scheffler’s scorecard restricted the World No.1 to an outright third-place finish on 7-under-par, while Smith came from further down the leaderboard to finish one shot worse.

It wasn’t to be for Rickie Fowler who headed into the last day sharing the lead with Clark, only to card a disappointing 5-over 75.

2023 US Open Final Leaderboard:

-10 W Clark
-9 R McIlroy
-7 S Scheffler
-6 C Smith
-5 T Fleetwood, M W Lee, R Fowler
-4 T Kim, H English
-3 A Eckroat, J Rahm, X Schauffele, Dustin Johnson

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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