Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)
RALEIGH, NC – Golfers and fans alike in the Triangle area had to be rubbing their hands together as the final round of the of the 2023 U.S. Open Championship concluded on Sunday night.
For selfish reasons, they will have the privilege of getting to witness live next year’s USGA championship to be played at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.
It’s been almost 10 years since the event last took place on the fairways and greens of the famed Course No. 2, and the anticipation of its return in 2024 will ramp up quickly following this year’s finish.
The storyline for the PGA Tour’s third major championship of the year once again played out and was written with details highlighting an exciting ending to it all.
As the sun set along the West coast, Wyndham Clark held on throughout the final round of play and earned the title of champion of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at Los Angeles Country Club.
In doing so, he finished at 10-under par (270) overall, just one stroke ahead of 2011 champion Rory McIlroy (-9, 271).
As the third consecutive first-time major winner at the Championship, he led a field that carded the lowest scoring average (71.76) in U.S. Open history, despite also earning the distinction as the first U.S. Open champion to shoot over par (+1) on the back nine during the final round of play since Justin Rose did so in 2013.
“You know, I feel like I belong on this stage, and even two, three years ago when people didn’t know who I was, I felt like I could still play and compete against the best players in the world,” Clark said afterwards.
“I felt like I’ve shown that this year. I’ve come up close, and obviously everyone sees the person that hoists the trophy, but I’ve been trending in the right direction for a long time now. I’ve made a lot of cuts. I’ve had a handful of top 10s and top 20s, and I feel like I’ve been on a great trajectory to get to this place.”
To the victor go the spoils
Clark not only earned a $3.15 million check, possession of the U.S. Open Trophy for the next year which he’ll keep a replica of, along with the Jack Nicklaus Medal, but his win also translated into a number of status recognitions befitting a major champion.
Among the benefits Clark will receive are:
- A U.S. Open exemption for the next 10 years
- An invitation to the next five Masters Tournaments
- An invitation to the next five Open Championships, conducted by The R&A
- An invitation to the next five PGA Championships
- An invitation to the next five Players Championships
- Exempt status on the PGA Tour for five years
- Custody of U.S. Open Trophy for one year, Jack Nicklaus Medal and a replica trophy
Notables: In addition to making the cut in his first U.S. Open to contend for the Trophy and prestige the title carries with it, Clark became one of only three players to win it in their first try, joining Lucas Glover (2009, Bethpage State Park), Lee Janzen (1993, Baltusrol GC), and Orville Moody (1969, Champions GC) in doing so…This marked the third year in a row that the U.S. Open champion won his first career major, doing so by one shot over a minted major champion. Matthew Fitzpatrick won by one shot over Scottie Scheffler (and Will Zalatoris) last year; Jon Rahm won in 2021 by one shot over Louis Oosthuizen in 2021.
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