Wyndham-Clark he was visibly emotional after sinking his last putt at the Los Angeles Country Club to wrap up the first major championship of his career: the US Open.
Clark beat Rory McIlroy by one stroke to win the third golf major of the season, and in America celebrating Father’s Day, Clark dedicated the win to his late mother. His mother, Lise, died of breast cancer in 2013. The win provided an opportunity to reflect on what a long journey he has been on.
«I didn’t show any emotion off the course, but when I was on the golf course I couldn’t have been angrier,» he said when he learned of his mother’s diagnosis. «He was breaking clubs when he didn’t even hit that bad a shot. He was coming off golf courses.»
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Clark transferred from Oklahoma to Oregon in the midst of his mother’s ordeal. He talked about what he felt as he was reeling from his mother’s diagnosis.
«Many times I’ve gone home and I was yelling in my car and hitting things and I was so angry I was like, ‘Why can’t I do what my teammates are doing?'» he said.
As he dug deep, Clark remembered what his mother would tell him.
«She called me ‘Winner’ when I was little, so she’d just say, ‘I love you, Winner,'» Clark said.
Clark entered the fourth round as a co-leader and finished the day by lifting the trophy. He said that all he wanted was for his mother to be there. He would have made the day perfect.
«All I really wish is that my mom can be here and I can hug her and we can celebrate together,» Clark said. «But I know that she is proud of me.»
WYNDHAM CLARK STOPS RORY MCILROY TO WIN US OPEN
Clark previously missed the cut at the other two US Open tournaments he played. He finished tied for 75th at the 2021 PGA Championship and tied for 76th at The Open Championship last year.
With just one shot up at 18, 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 the pair and the festivities would begin.
Clark was 10 under par in the tournament.
McIlroy trailed Clark throughout the fourth round, but a crucial shot in the 14th gave Clark some distance. McIlroy hit a shot into the rough part of the bunker and was awarded a free kick. He had a chance to save par, but missed a putt and missed two shots behind Clark. He was McIlroy’s first bogey.
Clark’s tee shot at 14 landed on the green. He birdied the hole and was three shots ahead of McIlroy as the two leaders came down the stretch.
Clark got stuck on the ninth hole early in the round, but managed to save par and hold a one-stroke lead over McIlroy heading to the back nine. He would bogey 15, which kept the door open for McIlroy, just in case.
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He bogeyed the 16th hole and McIlroy parred the 17th to stay within a stroke of the lead. McIlroy nearly birdied on 18, but eventually made par. He had a birdie and a bogey for a final round 70. He finished 9 under par in the tournament.
Associated Press contributed to this report.