Headed to St. Andrews

Colorado native Wyndham Clark ties for 7th in Canadian Open; 9-foot putt on final hole qualifies him for his first British Open; former Buff Robyn Choi notches 4th straight top-10 on Epson Tour

By Gary Baines – 6/12/2022

Considering where Wyndham Clark stood early in the back nine of Sunday’s final round of the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto — still in contention for his first PGA Tour title and playing nearly flawless golf — it was easy to see why the Colorado native might not be a particularly happy camper when he walked off the 18th green a couple of hours later.

He tied for seventh place — marking the eighth top-10 showing of his PGA Tour career — but playing his final five holes in 5 over par certainly didn’t help. 

But was one very nice consolation for the finish: The 2010 CGA Amateur champion has the distinction of qualifying for both the U.S. Open and British Open in the same week — with next month’s 150th British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland (July 14-17) being his first. 

It was close, but by salvaging a double bogey with a 9-foot putt on the 18th hole Sunday, Clark landed one of two available berths at the Canadian Open. But he had to finish in the top eight overall in Toronto, and he wouldn’t have had he missed that 9-footer. 

Wyndham Clark earned his eighth top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

As it was, the two-time Colorado state high school individual champion joined Keith Mitchell (also T7) in earning British Open spots, which went to previously non-exempt players. On Monday, Clark had landed a U.S. Open berth at one of the 36-hole qualifiers held that day.

“All in all (it was) a great week and qualifying for my first Open Championship is awesome,” Clark said on Sunday. “It’s just a cherry on top. Even though I finished poorly (today) it just makes the day seem a lot better.”

The U.S. Open and British Open will make it five majors for Clark in his career — the 2020 and ’21 PGA Championships, the 2021 and ’22 U.S. Opens and the 2022 British Open. 

Regarding the Canadian Open specifically, the way his round started on Sunday, Clark might very well be wondering what he needs to do notch his first PGA Tour victory. After going into the final round two out of the lead, Clark shot a 29 on the front nine and was 6 under par through 11 holes.

Alas, he was trying to overcome an even better start to the day by defending champion Rory McIlroy, the 54-hole co-leader; six straight birdies in the middle of the round by 2022 PGA Champion Justin Thomas; a final-day score of 60 by Justin Rose, who bogeyed No. 18; and a 62-64 weekend by Tony Finau. 

Despite being 6 under through 11 holes on Sunday, Clark  hadn’t picked up any ground on McIlroy, who went on to be 8 under through 12. Clark, the 2017 Pac-12 champion at Boulder Country Club, didn’t show any chinks in the army until back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 14 and 15. A bogey on 17 took more of a toll, then hitting his drive on the 18th hole far enough left that he incurred a stroke-and-distance penalty added up to being 5 over in his last five holes.

Still, he shot a 1-under 69 in the final round and checked in at 10 under, nine behind McIlroy’s winning total.

“That front nine, I played fantastic,” Clark said. “I thought coming in if I shot 6 or 7 (under) today I would have a chance to win and clearly that wasn’t the case. Everyone started making tons of birdies. But honestly, through 13 or 14 holes I played fantastic golf and it’s unfortunate how I finished.”

Clark, 28, now owns a second place, a fifth, two sevenths, two eighths and two 10ths in his PGA Tour career. This one will help significantly as he was 125th on the FedExCup points list going into Canada, and the top 125 at the end of the season will remain fully exempt for 2022-23.

Another Colorado native who went into the final day in the top 10, Jim Knous, finished 25th on Sunday after a final-round 72 left him at 5 under overall. It was the sixth career top-25 on the PGA TOUR for the former Colorado School of Mines golfer.

For all the scores from the Canadian Open, CLICK HERE.

Elsewhere in tour golf:

— Former University of Colorado golfer Robyn Choi has been on quite a tear recently — one which continued on Sunday, when she tied for fifth place at the Epson Tour’s Carolina Golf Classic in Kinston, N.C.

That marks Choi’s fourth consecutive top-10 showing on the Epson — and fifth straight if you want to count last week’s Inspirato Colorado Women’s Open, where she placed eighth.

This time, Choi went 67-68-68-67 for a 14-under-par total, which left her five back of champion Lucy Li. Choi earned $7,397.

For all the scores from the Carolina Golf Classic, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was voted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2021. Email: ColoradoGolfJournal@mac.com)