Get to know: Wyndham Clark
March 02, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 02, 2019
Wyndham Clark dials in tee shot to set up birdie at Honda
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wyndham Clark zoomed to the top of the leaderboard after the third round of The Honda Classic and will take a one-stroke lead going into Sunday at PGA National. Here are a few things you should know about the PGA TOUR rookie who currently resides in Las Vegas.
• His mom took him to the driving range for the first time when Wyndham was just 3 years old. “I hit a bucket of balls and asked to hit another bucket,” Wyndham recalled. Lisa Clark remembered an elderly gentleman golfer asking how long her son had been playing the game. She said, “30 minutes,” to which the man replied, “Don’t change his swing.”
• At 6 years old, young Wyndham made his first hole-in-one. “Hit driver from 125 and made it,” Clark said. “I actually got on the front page of the Denver Post. I have that framed. So, I remember that as well.”
• Clark attended Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado and become close friends with classmate Christian McCaffrey, the star running back for the Carolina Panthers.
• After graduating from high school, he initially went to Oklahoma State to play golf (and through that connection, became friends with Rickie Fowler). During Clark’s freshman year, his mother’s breast cancer, which had been first diagnosed in 1997, returned. She died in August of 2013. Wyndham wants to honor his mom’s memory – he calls it “Play Big” -- and hopes to start a breast cancer foundation.
• “She’s a lot of the reason why I play today,” Clark once told the school newspaper at Oregon. “She was there when I played bad, and there to console me and make me feel better. When I played great she was there to hug me and be super excited for me. She was a huge part of my upbringing.”
• After his mother’s death, Clark contemplated quitting the game. “It just wasn’t as much of a priority for me after she passed,” he said. “It got to where it was really hard and just not enjoyable. But I know that she wouldn’t want me to do that. … She’s really helped me get through a lot of tough things since she’s passed. I want to honor her and honor what she wanted me to do and try to make her proud.”
• Ten days after his mother’s death, Clark competed in the U.S. Amateur, finishing ninth. Oklahoma State head coach Alan Bratton was his caddie.
• Clark transferred to Oregon for a change of scenery and enjoyed playing for coach Casey Martin. He was Pac-12 Player of the Year for the Ducks team, with three individual tournament wins and 10 top-10 finishes in 11 starts. He shot 69 or better in 18 of 28 rounds that season, including all three rounds of the Pac-12 Championship, which he won. He was also named GolfWeek Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award and was a semifinalist for the Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year award.
• The Ducks also won the NCAA Championship in 2017. “I’ve never won a championship that big. Not only did I do it individually, but we did it as a team, which was awesome. It was really fun to share, and we all had a blast doing it,” Clark said.
• Clark also graduated with a business degree. “It took me five years,” he said. “I’m a good student, but I didn’t put 100 percent effort into it. When I did graduate, it definitely felt like I accomplished something. It’s nice to have my piece of paper, my degree.”
• After a T-23 finish at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament – which included a hole-in-one during competition -- Clark guaranteed himself eight starts to begin the 2018 Web.com Tour season. He parlayed that into full status, and eventually made 24 starts, with four top-10 finishes. He finished 16th on the regular season money list to secure his PGA TOUR card for the 2018-19 season.
• In his first 10 starts this season, his best result is a T-10 at last week’s Puerto Rico Open. Because of that top-10 result, he earned a spot in the field this week at PGA National. He entered this week ranked 13th on TOUR in birdie average (4.66 per round).
• He currently lives in Las Vegas, and practices with fellow residents Scott Piercy and Ryan Moore, who have given him advice on being a TOUR pro, as well as insight into the courses on TOUR.
• Asked once if it was an advantage or disadvantage growing in Colorado as a golfer, Clark replied (to CHSAA.org): “I think it's a disadvantage, personally. Because you don't ever really play at altitude at any of these events. The most you play at is maybe 1,000 feet. I think growing up in Colorado, not only are you playing different distances, but the ball actually spins less and is affect by the air less. So the ball goes straighter and doesn't go offline as much. When you go play in Florida or other places where the air is thick, your misses are exaggerated a lot more. I think that's definitely a disadvantage.”
So far, Florida seems to be working out quite nicely for Clark.
Get to know co-leader @Wyndham_Clark:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 2, 2019
- Lives in Las Vegas
- Started playing golf when he was 3
- Made first ace when he was 6
- Close friends with @Panthers RB @run__cmc
- Wants to “Play Big” for his mom, who passed away in 2013 after battling breast cancer#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/w39sc7aQrK
Wyndham Clark sinks 12-footer for birdie at Honda