US Open

US Open De-Brief: Wonderful Wyndham gets the job done

Golfer Wyndham Clark
Wyndham Clark with the US Open trophy

Steve 'The Punter' Rawlings' 120.0119/1 pre-event pick, Wyndham Clark, has won the 123rd US Open so our man's back with his customary look back at all the action here...

Up with the pace is where you need to be in a US Open and the 123rd renewal advertised that perfectly.

Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele led by two strokes after the opening round on Thursday, after both men had fired the first eight-under-par 62s in US Open history.

My 120.0119/1 Find Me a 100 Winner, fancy, Wyndham Clark, sat tied for third alongside the 2016 US Open winner, Dustin Johnson, and at the halfway stage, Clark had edged a shot closer to Rickie, with Xander and Rory McIlroy two strokes off Fowler's halfway lead.

For the second day in-a-row, Clark bettered Rickie's score by a solitary stroke on Saturday and the pair went into Sunday's fourth and final round tied at the top with Rory just one off the lead.

Even though 12 of the last 15 US Open winners had sat first or second with a round to go, the man in third, Rory, headed the market through 54 holes, with Scottie Scheffler in fourth and trading at around 5/16.00, the only other player trading at below 38.037/1.

It looked a four-man tussle with a round to go but, it quickly developed into a two-man race.

Poor Rickie never got going in round four and having been matched at a low of 2.6413/8 towards the end of round three, the pre-event 60.059/1 chance dropped shots at two, five and seven to fall out of contention. He went on to shoot a five-over-par 75 to finish tied for fifth.

Scheffler's challenge was a little more sustained but with the putter still cold, he was out of the picture after back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12.

Rory birdied the first to tie the lead, but he wasn't alongside Clark for long. The 29-year-old also birdied the opening hole and after a dropped shot at two, he picked up two more birdies at four and six to lead by two.

After Rory had missed a short putt on the par five eighth to get back to within one, and following Clark's drive to the right of the fairway on eight, it looked long odds-on that my man would stretch his lead to three but he pulled his approach, whiffed at one in the heavy rough and did well to record a bogey six in the end. It was game on.

Rory was matched at a low of 1.910/11 as the general consensus was that he'd catch and pass Clark, who only last month had won his first PGA Tour title, but it was the less experienced man that assumed control again.

After a brilliant up-and-down from off the green at the par three ninth to save par, and an even better one at the par three 11th, Clark went two clear again when Rory made a mess of the par five 14th to record a bogey six.

And Clark was matched at 1.071/14 when he set up an eagle chance on 14 with this sensational second from 279 yards out.

Clark missed the eagle but tapped in for birdie and just for a few minutes, it looked like a done deal.

Rory drifted all the way out to 13.012/1 but there was plenty of drama still to come...

Clark hit a poor tee-shot on the tiny par three 15th, which led to a bogey four and after another dropped shot by the leader on 16, Rory was back to within one.

Rory's price dipped to well below 3.02/1 and Clark drifted to around 1.910/11 but it was impossible to fault Clark's steely finish.

He'd impressed greatly when winning the Wells Fargo Championship at the beginning of May and he finished off the US Open in fine style too with a pair of stress-free pars to take the title.

Clark ticked plenty of boxes

At 29, Clark was bang on the average age of recent US Open winners and he was the eighth winner in 11 years in his 20's.

Ranked 32 in the Official World rankings, he hit another strong trend. As many as 45 of the last 46 majors have gone to someone in the top-50 in the standings, and he's the 21st first-time major winner in the last 32.

Clark is the fifth first time US Open winner in-a-row and he's the seventh first timer to win the US open in eight years!

With a recent win at Quail Hollow, he ticked the recent win box and the only thing that was out of sync was his record in major championships.

Clark now has major form figures that read MC-75-MC-MC-75-MC-1.

Rory heads the market at Hoylake

Rory did very little wrong this week and that illusive fifth major may not be far away now.

He's now the 10/111.00 favourite on the Betfair Exchange to win next month's Open Championship and that looks a reasonable price given we're heading back to Hoylake, the venue at which he won back in 2014.

We're back to Germany on the DP World Tour again this week for the BMW International Open, which I've previewed here, and we're off to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour, which I've previewed here.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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