Going as much as the ultimate fairway at Quail Hole on Sunday, victory all however assured, Wyndham Clark made a acutely aware effort to soak up all of the sights and sounds round him. Moments later, the American hit house to win the Wells Fargo Championship and his first PGA Tour title
“You possibly can solely win your first event as soon as,” Clark mused, however this was a victory performed out in his creativeness numerous occasions.
“It is surreal, I’ve dreamed about this since I used to be most likely six years outdated,” Clark instructed reporters in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Ever since I have been on the PGA Tour, you fantasize about it on a regular basis, and I’ve achieved it a number of occasions this 12 months the place I discover myself daydreaming about successful.
“To do it on this golf course towards this competitors is best than I might have imagined.”
The best way he gained was additionally the stuff of goals, as Clark carded a 19-under to seal a four-shot victory over compatriot Xander Schauffele, ranked 75 locations above him at No.5 on the earth. It marked the second-lowest rating for par within the occasion’s historical past, second solely to that Rory McIlroy 21 fewer in 2015, in response to the PGA Tour.
McIlroy, making his first begin since lacking the lower at The Masters, completed thirty first in a star-studded subject with six of the highest 10 on the earth.
A remaining spherical of three-under 68 sealed the 29-year-old Clark’s fourth consecutive spherical within the 60s, a composed nearer after an excellent 63 on Saturday gave him a two-shot lead over Schauffele heading into the ultimate spherical.
After turning professional in 2017, Clark was 5 years into 133 PGA Tour begins with out a win. After ending sixth on the Corales Puntacana Championship within the Dominican Republic in March, the American started to assume he may by no means style victory.
“I do know it sounds loopy as a result of I’ve solely been out right here 5 years, however I’ve had quite a lot of possibilities to get to the place I used to be inside two or three pictures, whether or not it is on the again 9 or beginning on a Sunday and I at all times appear to fall quick, and never solely that, however I appear to have fallen behind in positions,” Clark admitted.
“There have been a number of texts and calls and moments the place I used to be so pissed off with folks in my camp the place I did not assume I used to be ever going to win and I stated, ‘Let’s cease speaking about it’ as a result of I did not wish to. Give it some thought. I stated perhaps that is not within the playing cards for me
“So being within the sales space this time, I stated, ‘Properly, we all know what to not do.'”
These classes had been instantly put to the check Sunday, as Clark opened with a bogey and stayed inside one level approaching the eighth tee. Nonetheless, a subsequent birdie, adopted by 4 extra within the first six holes of the again 9, noticed him return house.
When his closing bogey got here house, Clark appeared overcome with emotion. After hugging his caddy and Schauffele, he seemed to be holding again tears as he greeted the gang gathered on the 18th.
The win secured Clark the winner’s prize of $3.6 million, surpassing his earlier greatest payday of $485,000, and stamped his ticket to the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in July. He additionally noticed his world rating climb 49 locations to thirty first.
He fulfilled a dream that nearly by no means obtained off the bottom. When the 19-year-old Clark was establishing himself as a gifted participant at Oklahoma State College, his mom died of breast most cancers.
Clark misplaced his “rock” and critically thought of strolling away from the game altogether.
“He was taking part in terribly,” Clark recalled. “There have been many occasions once I’ve gone off the golf course in qualifying or tournaments and pushed as quick as I might, I did not know the place I used to be going.
“The strain of golf after which not having my mother there and somebody I might name was actually laborious for me. Then professionally, I’ve had quite a lot of moments like that the place you simply miss a number of cuts in a row otherwise you really feel like your sport is sweet and you are not getting a lot use out of it and also you’re simply considering doing it (strolling away) .
“Max Homa has an important quote: ‘Each golfer is one shot away from considering they’ll win the Masters or one shot away from quitting golf.’ That is a extremely nice quote as a result of that is the reality. I am glad I stayed and I am right here now “.