The US Open Comes Down to a Battle Between Clark and McIlroy, Clark Prevails

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Los Angeles Country Club, Los Angeles, CA — June 18, 2023

As Wyndham Clark and Rickie Fowler waited to start their final round in the 2023 U.S. Open, they really had no worries unless someone outside of the top seven players posted a round of 62 as Fowler and Xander Schauffele did on Thursday.

Tommy Fleetwood made a run at the number getting to eight under par with four birdies and two eagles through 14 holes. A bogey on the 16th dropped him to five under for the tournament. However, he had a chance to tie the record with a birdie putt on 18 but missed and settled for a 63. It made Fleetwood the leader in the clubhouse, but with seven players on the course with scores already better than his, it did not give him a realistic expectation of making a playoff.

Hole One

Rory McIlroy got the start he was looking for as he drove the green on the par five first hole in two strokes. He missed the eagle putt, but his birdie moved him into a tie for the lead after one.

Rory McIlroy / Photo Courtesy of the USGA

Clark also birdied the first and took sole possession of the lead at -11.

Hole Two

The second hole proved to be a challenge for several players. Harris English carded a double bogey that essentially dropped him out of contention. He left the hole at four under par for the tournament. Dustin Johnson made a bogey and joined English at seven strokes out of the lead.

Clark and Fowler bogeyed #2, dropping Clark back into a tie with McIlroy at -10. Fowler sat a stroke back at nine under.

Hole Three

All the leaders parred the third hole. Scottie Scheffler, after the eagle-birdie finish to close out his round yesterday, remained at seven under through three. Looking for a chance to draw closer.

Hole Four

The fourth hole at the Los Angeles Country Club is a 233-yard par three that has tested the players this week. McIlroy and Sheffler pared the hole, Fowler missed the green short, and Clark was looking at a makeable birdie putt. Fowler made a nice chip and dropped a ten-foot to save par. Clark made birdie to move back to 11 under.

Hole Five

McIlroy missed the fairway on the 480-yard par-four fifth hole. Hitting out of the heavy rough, he came up short and left of the green but with a clear look at the hole. Putting from well off the green, McIlroy’s putt spun around the hole, but he was able to tap in for par.

Scheffler hit it to the back of the green, and his putt came up five feet short of the hole. He drained it to save par.

Clark made par. Fowler three-putted and dropped another stroke to eight-under-par.

Hole Six

The 316-yard par-four sixth hole is reachable in one for the professionals if they execute the drive. McIlroy went for it and missed left, and Scheffler laid up short. Neither player chipped close, and both made par.

Clark gave it a go and got caught up in the heavy rough in front of the green. Fowler laid up in a similar position that Scheffler ended up in. Rickie’s second ran well past the hole. He missed the birdie putt coming back. Clark chipped to within four feet and sank his birdie putt to move to -12.

Hole Seven

The seventh is another long par three, measuring 272 yards. Scheffler missed the green into the trees. He got relief from interference due to a television tower. The drop gave him a view of the green. However, his chip was not close, and he made a bogey, dropping him six strokes off the lead.

Clark hit the green, and Fowler missed right. Rickie left his chip short and had to chip it again to get close to the hole. He dropped a stroke to fall back to seven under par. Clark two-putted for a par.

Hole Eight

The par-five eighth is an eagle opportunity. Sheffler and Fowler could use one to claw back into contention. This could become a two-man race after nine. Scheffler and McIlroy both had eagle putts. Neither could convert. Sheffler made birdie, and McIlroy three-putted for a par. His seventh in a row since the birdie on the opening hole.

Clark missed the green to the left with his second shot and landed in the waste area with heavy cover. Fowler hit the green and rolled to the back. He will have a shot at the eagle.

Clark’s ball landed under three-foot-high grass stalks. His attempt to hit out of the mess only advanced the ball further in the deep grass. His fourth shot flew over the green and into the rough. He chipped within three feet and made the put for a bogey.

Fowler’s lag putt left him three feet for a birdie, which he converted. The two-shot swing brought Clark back to the field

Hole Nine

The third par three on the front nine is a 155-yard hole that requires a precise tee shot to a well-guarded green. Both Scheffler and McIlroy made par.

Fowler hit the green and will have a shot at birdie. Clark missed left and will have to deal with heavy greenside rough. Fowler two-putted for his par while Clark chipped to within six feet but faced a tricky putt to save par. Which he calmly rolled in.

The Leaderboard After Nine

POS PLAYER T0 PAR
1 Wyndham Clark -11
2 Rory McIlroy -10
3 Rickie Fowler -8
4 Scottie Scheffler -7

The 10th

The 10th hole is probably the easiest of the back nine. McIlroy and Scheffler both had birdie putts but could not convert. Fowler’s approach shot was just short of the green, and Clark left himself a six-footer for birdie. Fowler putted up to within a foot of the hole. Clark missed the birdie and rolled a foot past the cup. Both made par.

The 11th

Number 11 is the longest par three on the course measuring 295 yards. Sheffler landed his tee shot in the right bunker. McIlroy hit the green and rolled to within 18 feet of the pin. His putt came up four inches short, and he tapped in for par.

Scheffler blasted out six feet past the hole and could not make the save as he rolled three feet past with his par putt. His bogey putt found the bottom of the hole, but sitting six strokes off the lead with seven to play, he is likely out of contention for the win.

Fowler’s tee shot landed in the bunker, and Clark flew the green, running well past the putting surface. Fowler hit out of the sand trap to within three feet. Clark matched the effort with a chip up to the same distance. Clark saved par, and Fowler missed. Four shots out of the lead is a tough hill to climb for Rickie.

The 12th

McIlroy walked off with another par, Scheffler three-putted for bogey and dropped six strokes out of the lead. Clark drove into the fairway while Rickie’s ball found the rough. Fowler had to ship out, and this third shot settled 10 feet past the hole.

Clark flew the pin and left himself a difficult two-putt for par from 35 feet. He lagged it down to within a foot and made the par. Fowler made another bogey and slipped out of contention for the win.

The 13th

The 513-yard par-four 13th hole is a tough test, especially under U.S. Open pressure. Rory hit the perfect drive and was safely on in two. Clark missed the fairway and will have to hit out of the rough.

McIlroy two-putted for his 12th par in a row, shifting the pressure back onto Clark, dealing with a difficult lie in the heavy rough. He was able to blast his ball out and hold the green, but it rolled all the way to the back of the putting surface. With 64 feet between his ball and the cup, he lagged it up to within two feet and sank the putt for par.

The 14th

The par-five 14th is a monster at 612 yards. However, birdies are available with three good shots to the green. McIlroy failed to do that as his approach landed in the front face of the front bunker.

After consulting with a USGA rules official, McIlroy was given relief for an unplayable lie and dropped a club length away in the heavy greenside rough. He chipped out past the hole but missed the putt and dropped two strokes out of the lead.

Clark hit an incredible drive, and his second shot found the green, giving him a chance at eagle. Two putts took him to 12 under par and a three-shot lead with four holes to play.

The 15th

The short par-three 15th is not considered a birdie hole. McIlroy had a shot at one but two-putted for par. Clark hit his tee shot through the green but avoided the heavy rough. His chip rolled off to the side of the hole, leaving him 9 feet for his par. One of the few misses of the day cost Clark a stroke. His lead shrunk to two strokes.

The 16th

The final three holes at the LACC are all par-fours measuring over 500 yards. Birdies are hard to find, and big scores are possible. McIlroy hit his drive into the rough. However, he was able to muscle the ball out and onto the green. Rory two-putted from 55 feet, sinking an eight-footer for par.

It was a big putt for McIlroy as Clark hit his drive into the fairway bunker behind a big lip. He was forced to use a lofted club to get it out and into the fairway, leaving him 125 yards to the hole. His third shot settled five feet past the hole giving Clark a shot at saving par. His putt lipped out, and suddenly, the lead was down to a single stroke.

The 17th

McIlroy drove through the 17th fairway into the short grass on an adjacent hole. His second shot rolled through the green but settled in the short fringe. He will have a shot at a birdie from 37 feet. He missed, but a shot tap-in sent him to the 18th, looking for a chance to get even.

Clark’s drive landed in the garden spot on the 17th fairway. He could get close to the pin with a solid second shot. His approach landed short and left, leaving some work to get up and down in two. He chipped to six inches of the cup and sank the putt for his par.

Hole 18

McIlroy launched a bomb on the 18th and landed in the middle of the fairway, leaving him a low to mid-iron to the green. His second shot drifted to the left, leaving him a long birdie putt to tie for the lead. Two putts and Rory posted a final score of nine under-par. Clark can win his first major with a par on the 18th.

Clark’s drive was a big sweeping fade, but it stayed in the fairway. His second shot landed safely on the front of the green 60 feet from the cup. A lag and a tap-in will seal the win. The putt rolled up to a cozy foot from the hole, and he tapped in for the biggest victory of his life.

Now, always to be known as a US Open Champion, Wyndham Clark looked skyward to acknowledge his mom, who passed away when he was nineteen years old. He repeatedly said, “I play for her.”

Final Results of the 123rd U.S. Open from the Los Angeles Country Club

POS PLAYER To PAR R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 Wyndham Clark -10 64 67* 69 70 270
2 Rory McIlroy -9 65 67* 69 70 271
3 Scottie Scheffler -7 67 68* 68 70 273
4 Cameron Smith -6 69 67* 71 67 274
T5 Tommy Fleetwood -5 73 69* 70 63 275
T5 Min Woo Lee -5 69* 65 74 67 275
T5 Rickie Fowler -5 62* 68 70 75 275
T8 Tom Kim -4 73* 68 66 69 276
T8 Harris English -4 67 66* 71 72 276
T10 Austin Eckroat -3 71 68* 73 65 277
T10 Jon Rahm -3 69* 73 70 65 277
T10 Dustin Johnson -3 64* 70 71 72 277
T10 Xander Schauffele -3 62* 70 73 72 277
T14 Russell Henley -2 71 71* 68 68 278
T14 Collin Morikawa -2 71 69* 69 69 278
T14 Patrick Cantlay -2 71* 71 67 69 278
T17 Brooks Koepka -1 71 69* 70 69 279
T17 Matt Fitzpatrick -1 71 70* 68 70 279
19 Viktor Hovland E 69* 70 69 72 280
T20 Jordan Smith +1 70* 71 74 66 281
T20 Nick Hardy +1 70* 69 75 67 281
T20 Denny McCarthy +1 71 67* 73 70 281
T20 Keith Mitchell +1 68* 71 71 71 281
T20 Shane Lowry +1 72 70* 68 71 281
T20 Bryson DeChambeau +1 67* 72 68 74 281
T20 Ryutaro Nagano +1 71* 67 68 75 281
T27 Sahith Theegala +2 74* 66 73 69 282
T27 Sergio Garcia +2 70* 71 71 70 282
T27 Justin Suh +2 69* 69 72 72 282
T27 Tyrrell Hatton +2 74* 67 69 72 282
T27 Padraig Harrington +2 73* 69 67 73 282
T32 Patrick Rodgers +3 71* 69 71 72 283
T32 Dylan Wu +3 68 70* 73 72 283
T32 Cameron Young +3 72* 70 68 73 283
T32 Sam Burns +3 69* 70 71 73 283
T32 Joaquin Niemann +3 68 72* 70 73 283
T32 Tony Finau +3 68* 69 72 74 283
T32 Hideki Matsuyama +3 72 69* 67 75 283
T39 David Puig +4 69 73* 75 67 284
T39 Gordon Sargent +4 69* 71 75 69 284
T39 Si Woo Kim +4 67* 72 71 74 284
T39 Eric Cole +4 69 70* 71 74 284
T43 Sam Bennett +5 67 68* 79 71 285
T43 Sam Stevens +5 75* 67 70 73 285
T43 Andrew Putnam +5 68* 71 73 73 285
T43 Ryan Fox +5 68 74* 69 74 285
T43 Billy Horschel +5 73 67* 71 74 285
T43 Brian Harman +5 65 73* 72 75 285
T49 Mackenzie Hughes +6 67* 73 75 71 286
T49 Sebastian Munoz +6 68 74* 72 72 286
T49 Charley Hoffman +6 71 67* 75 73 286
T49 Kevin Streelman +6 72 69* 71 74 286
T49 Gary Woodland +6 70 68* 73 75 286
T54 Romain Langasque +7 71* 68 77 71 287
T54 Abraham Ancer +7 70* 72 74 71 287
T56 Patrick Reed +8 72* 69 78 69 288
T56 Ryan Gerard +8 69 70* 76 73 288
58 Yuto Katsuragawa +9 69 71* 75 74 289
59 Adam Hadwin +11 70 72* 74 75 291
T60 Jacob Solomon +12 68 73* 77 74 292
T60 Adam Svensson +12 71 70* 77 74 292
62 Ben Carr +13 70* 72 75 76 293
63 Ryo Ishikawa +14 69 73* 78 74 294
64 Aldrich Potgieter +15 70* 72 74 79 295
65 Maxwell Moldovan +17 71 71* 76 79 297