Oregon Golfer Wyndham Clark Still Chasing U.S. Open Leaders

Former Oregon Duck Golfer Wyndham Clark moved up the U.S. Open leaderboard Saturday and is in position to fight for a top 20 finish, but the front of the pack didn't give up any ground at Pinehurst No. 2.
Jun 14, 2024; Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA; Wyndham Clark on the 13th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst No. 2.
Jun 14, 2024; Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA; Wyndham Clark on the 13th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst No. 2. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Former Oregon Duck golfer Wyndham Clark opened his defense of the 2023 U.S. Open Championship on a very tough golf course, Pinehurst (North Carolina) No. 2, also known as the heart of championship golf in America. After three rounds, Clark finds himself in the middle of the pack with one round left to improve his standing.

Following an opening round of three over par 73, Clark has been consistent if not spectacular. He has carded successive rounds of one over par and is currently five over par and trails tournament leader, Bryson DeChambeau, by 12 shots.

There is no doubt Clark—and his Duck fans—would prefer him to be much closer to the top of the leaderboard. However, under difficult playing conditions his consistency and ability to stay away from the big numbers are positives to be taken from his play this week.

Wyndham Clark celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Los Angeles Country Club
Jun 18, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Wyndham Clark celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Los Angeles Country Club. / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

As the defending champion of the U.S. Open, there were lofty expectations for Clark to perform well. Clark addressed the expectations in an interview before the tournament started.

"I haven’t been playing my best golf and it’s been kind of a tough stretch these last few weeks, so really I am just trying to gain some momentum this week for the rest of the season," Clark said. "I know that maybe sounds like low expectations for the week but honestly I’d love to just gain some momentum and I’d really like to hit some good shots, have some really good up and downs, make some key putts throughout the week and play four solid rounds."

While a quick glance at Clark’s scorecard may not meet expectations as the defending champion, the difficulty of the course and hot weather conditions have influenced the entire field. Consider that his one over par round on Saturday moved him up 19 spots on the leaderboard.

As to any expectations of Clark that may exist, he addressed the matter before he teed off on Thursday.

"I would just say my expectations are probably higher than anyone else has for me in this room. I have to work on my expectations," Clark explained. "Just not putting so much pressure on myself. It is tough, it’s obviously challenging being one of the top players, especially doing it as quickly as I did."

As the field heads toward a Sunday finish, a new champion will be crowned. DeChambeau leads Matthieu Pavon, Rory McIlroy, and Patrick Cantlay by three strokes with several others within five shots of the leader. Unfortunately, Clark isn’t in this group, but his mindset and skill level will bring him success in the future.

Duck fans have a great deal to cheer about when it comes to Clark as he represents Oregon golf at the highest level.


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Mark Lantz

MARK LANTZ