MARANA, Ariz. -- Tim Clark won the 16th and 17th holes with pars to break open a tight match with Adam Scott and take a 2-up victory.
Scott only led twice in the match, for one hole each time, with the first advantage coming as conditions worsened on Wednesday and play was suspended. Scott made an 8-footer for birdie to sqaure the match at No. 7 and then went back to the hotel with a 1-up advantage after Clark bogeyed the par-5 eighth.
The two competitors came back out on Thursday and traded wins at Nos. 9, 10 and 11, which Clark won with a 6-foot birdie putt to square the match again. The next three holes were halved with pars and the 15th with a birdie before Clark broke away at the end.
With his runner-up at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Tim Clark has runner-up finishes in nine consecutive years.
By Ann Miller, for PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU — Tim Clark had never played better than he did at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii and neither had anyone else at Waialae Country Club, until rookie Russell Henley came along.
Clark birdied the final four holes in the last round and still lost ground to Henley on Sunday. Henley won his debut as a PGA TOUR member with a tournament-record 24-under 256, closing with his third 63 of a remarkable week.
That was the third-best 72-hole total in TOUR history. Clark’s 21-under 259 total was in the Top 15 and the lowest of his life. He also closed with 63, pulling away from everybody but Henley.
Clark, who won the 2010 PLAYERS Championship, now has runner-up finishes in nine consecutive years, including Sony in 2011. That week, he suffered an injury in the pro-am and would play just three more rounds the rest of the year. As a rookie, the 35-year-old South African injured his wrist here.
“I either come second here or blow myself out for a year,” Clark said. “Yeah, it’s strange. I love coming here, but it’s … I’ve hurt myself twice and it put me out for two whole years.”
Clearly, Clark is back again. He had three Top 10s last year, including a runner-up at the Wyndham Championship.
“Obviously last year was really me just trying to get back to playing,” he said. “A couple times I felt like I was in contention, certainly in Connecticut I thought I had a chance to win there, and didn't feel great coming down the stretch. And then last year at Greensboro, when Sergio (Garcia) played really well on Sunday and beat me. But that felt pretty good.
“So I was excited about coming out this year, and certainly today I myself felt pretty calm. I wasn't thinking big picture. I was able to stay in every shot. That for me has always been my biggest problem. I get too goal-oriented in thinking about that win, and today I didn't really let that happen. Under normal circumstances that round would have won me the tournament, but I just got outplayed.”
At least Clark came close. No one else could make that claim.
“Tim was pushing me pretty hard out there,” Henley said, grinning. “I wish he wouldn't have done that. That was stressing me out.”
Clark plans to play a lot early this year to try and earn his way into the U.S. and British Opens. The Presidents Cup is also on the horizon.
Now, if he could just find a way around the rookies.
“I'm thinking about that,” Clark grinned. “They should maybe make these guys play somewhere else for a little bit more. It’s great for the TOUR, and the fact that they're such nice guys, you can only be happy for the guy in getting his first win.”
After taking a triple bogey on No. 9 (pictured) Chris Kirk eagled the 18th to go 1-over on par 5s. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
HONOLULU -- The last group on Sunday will be comprised of Russell Henley, Scott Langley and Tim Clark. That’s a pair of rookies and a veteran with victory at the 2010 PLAYERS Championship on his resume. It was critical for Clark to make his birdie putt on the 18th hole to get into that final group. He will be able to know exactly where he stands the entire round and detect any rookie nerves that may be present in Henley and Langley.
Putting: Scott Langley is tied for the lead because he is a good player but he has putted the grass off the greens this week with phenomenal efficiency. The rookie has made 403-feet, 8-inches in putts. He is 40 of 44 on putts measuring 10 feet or less. Langley has hit 37 of 54 greens to rank 44th in the tournament but he is second in total putts and No. 1 in strokes gained - putting.
It happens to everyone: Chris Kirk was 3 under and making a charge until a triple bogey on the par-5 ninth hole. He said two bad swings led to a pair of drops and the eventual eight. In fact, Kirk made a 20 footer just to salvage that triple. Maybe it was just the Golf Gods getting even. Kirk eagled both par 5s on Friday with putts of 3 feet or less. Kirk was back in form at the 18th, holing an eagle chip to shoot 68 and stand at 12 under.
Scrambling: Tim Clark has missed 14 greens the entire week and gotten up and down 13 times. He leads the tournament in scrambling, having played 54 holes with just one bogey. That came on the sixth hole in the third round when Clark missed from 8 feet, 11 inches.
Greens: Once again, the greens were receptive for the entire third round. The moisture content in the putting surfaces allows shots to hold the green. Officials have not watered this week but the naturally wet Hawaiian winter has the greens moist and lush which leads to birdie chances. As a bonus for golfers, the trade winds were a non-factor on Saturday. Winds were less than 10 miles per hour. The forecast calls for winds out of the northwest on Sunday, which could favor experienced players.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
Tim Clark has posted three top 25s in as many events at the Sony Open in Hawaii. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Ann Miller, Special to PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Simply being in Hawaii makes Tim Clark feel better.
The 37-year-old South African came back to the PGA TOUR last year after getting just four starts in 2011 because of tendonitis in his right arm and an elbow injury. The first of those starts was a runner-up finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he ended up two shots back of Mark Wilson.
It marked his third T25 at Waialae Country Club in as many starts. He missed the beginning of the season here in 2012, but a 4-under-par 66 Friday has him feeling healthy and right back at home.
After two rounds, Clark is 10 under and four shots back of leader Russell Henley midway through the second day.
“Obviously a great way to start the year,” Clark said. “Not a whole lot of expectations coming down, but I always enjoy the start of the year. I love coming out here to Hawaii. It’s just such a great place and obviously a course that I really like and have played well at in the past. For me, it’s just a great way to get the year started.”
Clark warmed up for Waialae with a round at Kukui‘ula on Kauai Sunday.
He is bogey-free so far at Sony, with six birdies Thursday and two more Friday, complemented by a short eagle putt on the ninth.
“I hit probably one of my worst tee shots of the day in the left rough and got a good lie,” Clark said. “So I got a good break there and hit a 5-wood up to about 3, 4 feet. It was a good way to get the round going.”
The 2010 PLAYERS Championship winner is still searching for his second title, although he has won more than $19 million on the PGA TOUR and captured four international events. He closed last year with four top 15s, including the 10th runner-up finish of his career, at the Wyndham Championship.
This weekend, he will set his sights on Sony, again. He might be more than 11,000 miles from South Africa, but it feels like home.
“It's strange,” Clark said. “I think when I come here it reminds me a lot of Durban, South Africa, near where I grew up. The weather is the same, the grasses are the same, and it's not an overly long golf course, and it plays firm.
“If you're driving it good, for a guy like me, I'm going to get some run out there and have shorter irons in. It really is just a course that suits me.”
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: After elbow surgery in 2011, Tim Clark was on the comeback trail last year and acquitted himself well with three top-10s and four more finishes of 25th or better. The South African will need to improve his putting, as he slipped from 48th (in 2010) to 123rd in strokes gained.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: The 2012 season marked Clark's eight straight with at least one runner-up finish. Clark, who has 10 seconds in all, picked up this one at the Wyndham Championship which propelled the former N.C. State standout from 109th to 54th in the FedExCup as the Playoffs began. – Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Tim has struggled with his health and his distance in recent years. He averaged 276.7 yards per drive this year, 180th on TOUR and made an average of just three birdies per round. Clark combats those problems with accuracy and mental toughness, winning more than $1.4 million. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: So much has transpired on the golf landscape in the last two years that it would be easy to overlook the fact that he totaled 20 starts in 2012 and recorded three top 10s, including a runner-up finish at Sedgefield. It wasn't a wildly successful return from elbow surgery, but no one expected it to be. Yet, it was vintage in that he ranked third in fairways hit and performed his best on shorter, tighter tracks. I'm all-in at $1.4 million. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 11
Rounds played: 60
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 61st
Driving distance: 180th
Driving accuracy: 3rd
Greens in regulation: 117th
Strokes gained-putting: 123rd
Scoring average: 110th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
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Check out the top five shots of the week from the Wyndham Championship and Dick's Sporting Good Open featuring highlights from Tim Clark, Brendon de Jonge, Sergio Garcia, John Huston, and Willie Wood.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Sergio Garcia spent the weather delay playing cards in the locker room.
Now he'll have to wait until Monday at 9 a.m. to see what kind of luck he has on the golf course when the final round of the Wyndham Championship resumes.
Garcia, who owns sole possession of the lead at 15 under, has just hit his second shot on the par-5 fifth. He owns a one-stroke lead over his playing partner Bud Cauley and the two men in the penultimate group, Jason Dufner and Tim Clark.
"There's nothing you can do," Garcia said philosophically. "Definitely the weather is one thing we can't control, so yeah, just kind of be patient and we'll see."
Clark had actually been tied for the lead with Garcia before missing the fairway at the par-5 fifth, laying up and then coming up short of the green with his third. He chipped on and missed a 15-footer for par but said the weather didn't contribute to the bogey.
"One of those things," Clark said. "It really didn't have much to do with the rain but when we're in the sixth fairway that's when they had to call it. Water was running down the fairways and pooling on the greens. I wouldn't say that rain affected anyone in a negative way while we were still playing."
Clark, who has two ties for sixth in the Wyndham Championship, one of which came at Sedgefield, said he likes when the course plays firm and fast. Playing lift, clean and place on Sunday helped the man who ranks 188th in driving distance, though.
"I think it would have really hurt me had it been playing it
down because then you're dealing with mud on the ball and all sort
of wet lies," Clark said. "So, that kind of negates the fact that
"It's going to obviously be sopping wet tomorrow. The ball will be running nowhere. It changes the course a little bit for me. The greens will be a little bit softer. I may be coming in some with longer clubs tomorrow. The greens will be holding. A little bit easier."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tim Clark didn't prepare for the Wyndham Championship like most of the rest of the field. He headed to the Bahamas for a few days to recharge his batteries after tying for 11th at the PGA.
"It was a brutal week," Clark said. "Felt like I needed a little bit of relaxation."
And why not? Clark knew he was playing well after shooting a final-round 69 at the Ocean Course. Not to mention, he has two ties for sixth in his last three appearances at the Wyndham Championship, including one at Sedgefield Country Club.
And Clark knew there were low scores out there Thursday after seeing his former college roommate Carl Pettersson, the 2008 Wyndham Championship winner, shot a 62 in the morning. The South African almost caught him in the afternoon, too, shooting a 63 to tie with David Mathis, one stroke off the lead.
"Obviously very pleased with that," Clark said. "Didn't really know what to expect coming up but having seen Carl shoot what he did in the morning I knew it was out there if I played a great round so it was nice to sort of keep pace."
Clark finished his round off with an exclamation point, rolling in a bomb of a 33-footer for his fifth birdie on the final hole. He also made an 8-foot eagle putt at the fifth hole.
"I didn't want to come up short, a tricky putt but I used great imagination on the greens all day," Clark said. "I was able to read the putt. Obviously hit it a little bit firm. Probably would have missed the green if it didn't hit the hole."
Clark appears to be peaking at the right time. After returning from elbow surgery five months ago, he posted his best finish of the season in a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship. He has finished 15th or better in his last two starts -- moving 124th to 109th in the FedExCup at the PGA last week.
"I needed to play well there and had to get myself in a good position going forward," Clark said. "So I felt like I was under the gun the last few weeks. I seem to play better like that.
“This is a huge week. You have a good opportunity to move way up in the standings and get yourself started. You have to play well. I really want to move up now and then carry that momentum to the Playoffs."
And Clark knows what he needs to do to have a chance to make the Wyndham Championship his second PGA TOUR title.
"I got to keep pace with Carl," Clark said. "He likes this course, he's won here and when he goes low, he really goes low. If I'm able to hang in there, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Prior to the 2012 Wyndham Championship, Tim Clark meets with the media and talks about recovering from his injury.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tim Clark gave himself some breathing room in the FedExCup at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
The 65 points he earned when he tied for 11th at Kiawah Island moved Clark from 124th to 109th in the standings with one event remaining in the Regular Season. He's hoping to make a similar move this week at the Wyndham Championship.
Clark attended college at N.C. State, which is about 90 minutes away from Greensboro. He hasn't played the Wyndham Championship since 2008, the year the tournament moved to Sedgefield and his former Wolfpack teammate, Carl Pettersson, won and Clark tied for sixth.
"I've been looking forward to this tournament for a long time
now," Clark said with a smile. "Obviously being the last event
before the Playoffs, a great opportunity to move up in the
FedExCup. So I've certainly be looking for forward it.
"It's a course I like. With the green changes it's going to be a big improvement in the golf course too, play a little bit tougher, firmer greens. Nice to be back here in North Carolina. Don't get to play too often here. It's good to be back."
Clark had season-ending surgery on his right elbow after playing just four events last year. He's played 15 events this year, though, and has three top-20 finishes in his last five starts, including a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship. The 69 he shot at the Ocean Course on Sunday in major championship pressure was pretty darn good, as well.
"I do feel like I'm back to where I wanted to be," Clark said.
"I knew it would be a long year. At the start of the year I wasn't
really ready for tournament golf yet but I wanted to get out and
start playing. I figured that would be the best way for me to get
back sooner rather than staying at home and just trying to practice
and figure it out that way.
“So, it's been an encouraging year. I don't really know what I expected. I thought it would be a lot easier at the start to get back to playing the way I wanted to. That took a good five, six weeks.
"At that point I was thinking about taking forever but luckily the last few months it's really turned around and I feel like I'm now in a position to be in The Playoffs and if I can start playing really well now, I could go quite deep in them."
The last time the RBC Canadian Open was played at Hamilton G&CC, in 2006, it ranked as the third-most difficult course on the PGA TOUR.
What a difference six years, and soft conditions, can make.
Tim Clark was the latest to tie the course record, shooting a 62 Friday to enter the weekend near the top of the leaderboard.
“Obviously being soft you’re able to go at a lot of flags and make a lot of birdies,” Clark said.
Earlier this week, Scott Piercy tied the course record with a 62 in the opening round.
For Clark, it matches his career low on the PGA TOUR. It’s also a sign of things heading in the right direction after his last two years were derailed by wrist surgery in 2010.
In his first six starts this season, Clark missed the cut four times and was disqualified from another event.
“The only way to get better was to come out here and play tournament golf,” Clark said. “I could feel I was getting better every round I played.”
It’s showed. Clark tied for 19th at Colonial and last month finished in a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship.
“I don’t think I came back too soon,” Clark added. “I think it’s what I needed to do.”