Wyndham Clark defied the oddsmakers, and the odds.
The 29-year-old Clark, who had only one PGA Tour victory, closed win an even-par 70 to win the 123rd United States Open by one stroke over third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the North Course at The Los Angeles Country Club.
“I’ve dreamed of being in this spot so many times before and winning, so it’s simply a dream come true,” said Clark, who was tied for the lead with Rickie Fowler entering the final round. “I just kept working hard and thinking all day that this was my time, and in the end I made it happen.
“I made a couple of birdies on the front nine to get things going and then overcame a couple bogeys near the end and got the job done. It was really emotional walking up the 18th hole with the lead, even though I knew I needed to two-putt for a par to win the tournament and I was able to do that.
“It simply feels great to be a major champion and I feel like I’m one of the best players in the world.”
Clark, who captured the Wells Fargo Championship in May, took a three-stroke lead with his third birdie of the day at No. 14 to take a three-stroke and overcame bogeys on the 15th and 16th hole to post a winning score of 10-under-par 270.
McIlroy, who has claimed four major titles but none since the 2014 PGA Championship, made his only birdie on the first hole and his lone bogey on No. 14 in another 70 to come up barely short again, losing by one shot in the Grand Slam events for the fourth time.
“I thought I played well and had a chance to win, but I obviously just didn’t make enough birdies, barely missing several putts,” who is looking forward to the Open Championship next month at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England, where he won in 2014. “It was just hard to get the ball close to the hole all day.
“Still, I hung in there all day despite a costly bogey on the 14th hole, and just couldn’t make a birdie on the last two holes when I needed it and simply didn’t get the job done. But I will just keep coming back and try to win another major championship, even though it’s been a while now since I’ve done that.
“The next chance is Hoylake, where I won before, and I’m looking forward to going back there next month.”
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion, made two late birdies to shoot another 70 and was three shots back in third, while ninth-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, the 2022 Open winner, had three birdies on the back nine in a 67 and was one more back in fourth.
Tommy Fleetwood of England eagled the sixth and 14th holes in a 63 that was the low round of the day and finished five down in a tie for fifth with Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who was at least tied for the lead after each of the first three rounds but struggled to a 75 that included only two birdies, and Min Woo Lee of South Korea, who shot a bogey-free 67.
Tom Kim, the 20-year-old sensation from South Korea, birdied the last hole for a 69 and wound up six strokes behind in a tie for eighth with Harris English, who was close to the lead before closing with a 72 that included a double-bogey 6 on the second hole.
Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, the reigning Masters champion, collected six birdies in a 65 to finish seven shots behind in a tie for 10th with sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who made a triple-bogey 7 on the 10th hole in a 72, two-time major champion Dustin Johnson, who made three late bogeys in another 72, and Austin Eckroat, who eagled the eighth hole to go with four birdies on the front nine in a 65.
Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA birdied two of the first three holes en route to a 69 to tie for 14th, eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, the defending champion, made two birdies and two bogeys in a 70 to tie for 17th, and fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway was solo 19th after carding three bogeys on the back nine for a 72.
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