June 24 2012
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Like Charley Hoffman in the group before him, Tim Clark found out just how difficult the par-4 17th at TPC River Highlands is.
Hoffman, playing in the group in front of him, had just double-bogeyed the hole to drop into a tie for the lead and was just one shot ahead of Clark.
Clark, playing from the middle of the fairway, hit his approach to the fringe and was just 20 feet from the hole. He lagged to just 2 feet to set up what seemed like an easy par -- to everyone except the man hiting the putt that is.
“I pretty much knew I was going to miss it, to be honest with you,” Clark said.
He did, making a bogey that cost him any chance of tying for the lead and forcing a playoff with Marc Leishman, who was already in the clubhouse.
“That's like taking a bullet to the head,” Clark continued. “You put yourself in position like this to win a tournament and to finish like that, having not missed a shot all day. I mean I played great. I feel like I could have walked away with a win. I was trying not to think about that while I was out there, but obviously somehow it snuck in the back of the head and got the better of me.”
Clark wasn’t alone in his struggles on the 17th. The 420-yard dogleg right around water played as the hardest hole of the week and Sunday it yielded nearly twice as many bogeys as birdies.
Not that it was much consolation to Clark, who is finally healthy after season-ending wrist surgery two years ago that also cost him most of last season, too.
”Mentally I'm obviously a long way away from where I need to be,” he continued. “I couldn't be more disappointed right now. I played great all day. Hit the ball great. When it came down to the end I couldn't get myself to make any putts.”