Wyndham Clark rolls by Xander Schauffele for first Tour win at Wells Fargo Championship
However, by the time he finished, there were no signs of those first hole jitters and he looked every bit of the PGA Tour winner he was about to become.
After going out in even through nine holes, Clark caught fire on the back nine, making four birdies in six holes, and turned what seemed like a battle with Xander Schauffele into a comfortable four-shot victory at 19-under par.
“I’ve dreamt about this since I was probably 6 years old,” Clark said after the win. “Since I’ve been on the PGA Tour, you fantasize about it all the time, and I’ve done it multiple times this year where I catch myself daydreaming about winning. And to do it at this golf course against this competition is better than I could ever have imagined.”
Not only was the win a first on the PGA Tour for Clark, a seventh-year pro from the University of Oregon, but it was his first as a professional. His last victory came at the 2017 Pac-12 Championship.
The win makes him the eighth debut winner on the PGA Tour this season. He’s also the second player to break through for his first win at a Designated event after Kurt Kitayama won at Bay Hill. He also joins an impressive list of players to make the Wells Fargo Championship their first win, including Max Homa, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim.
It comes as Clark was in the midst of his best PGA Tour season. He already had a career-best five top-10s on the year, good for 36th in the FedEx Cup standings coming into the week. Now he moves to No. 5, his first time in the top 10 in his career.
Paired with Schauffele, who himself started the day three clear of the rest of the field, Clark’s lead was quickly evaporated when the World No. 5 birdied the 3rd hole and then took the lead outright with a birdie on the par-5 7th.
That lead lasted one hole as Clark began his move with a birdie on the eighth before starting his back nine charge.
Earlier in the week, Clark spoke of his renewed focus on his mental game and strategy and it was again on display Sunday on the 14th hole. While Schauffele took aim for the green on the 343-yard par-4, like more than 80 percent of the field did this week, Clark pulled out an iron and laid up. He made birdie, his third of the week on the hole, to keep a four-shot advantage.
“I’ve been in this situation a couple times and it’s kind of prepared me for today,” Clark said. “And obviously, I didn’t pull it off in the previous times, but I just kept leaning back on those experiences. And then just the stuff I’ve worked on, I just felt like I did a great job.”
He added another on the par-5 15th and cruised through the difficult “Green Mile” closing stretch at Quail Hollow. Not even a bunkered tee shot on 18 and an easy bogey could derail him while holding the huge lead.