|-10 W Clark (US); -9 R McIlroy (NI); -7 S Scheffler (US); -6 C Smith (Aus); -5 T Fleetwood (Eng), R Fowler (US), M W Lee (Aus)|
|Selected: -3 J Rahm (Spa), X Schauffele (US), D Johnson (US); -2 C Morikawa (US); -1 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), B Koepka (US); Level V Hovland (Nor); +1 J Smith (Eng), S Lowry (Ire), B DeChambeau (US); +2 S Garcia (Spa), T Hatton (Eng), P Harrington (Ire)|
After losing to American Wyndham Clark at the US Open in Los Angeles by one stroke, Rory McIlroy’s nine-year hunt for a fifth major victory continues.
The 29-year-old Clark finished on 10 under par to win his first major and the $3.6 million (£2.8 million) winner’s bonus.
US Opens are difficult. Although I was at ease, I kept telling myself, “I can do this, I can do this,” he remarked.
Despite appearing devastated following yet another huge close call, McIlroy said: “I’m right there, it’s such fine margins.”
It has been 3,234 days since McIlroy’s most recent major victory, which came at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla in 2014—a great Hollywood plotline.
The Northern Irishman has a history of just missing out on victories, whether it is at Southern Hills, Torrey Pines, the Augusta National, St. Andrews, or the ultra-exclusive north course of the Los Angeles Country Club. He has now finished in the top 10 of 19 major championships, including the last five US Opens.
He commented on Sky Sports after shooting a 70 to finish at nine under, “I just have to keep putting myself in these positions. It’s going to happen for me sooner or later.
The third-ranked golfer in the world, who has effectively won everything else in the sport, will undoubtedly rank this week highly on his list of squandered opportunities.
The final round of the 150th Open Championship was marked by one birdie, one bogey, and 16 pars, thus it was difficult to identify too many faults with his performance.
On a day where Clark found more greens in regulation than any other player, his only conceivable regret would be that he was unable to apply enough pressure to him.
After a successful start with a birdie, McIlroy found it challenging to putt on the dangerously rapid and dried-out surfaces throughout the rest of the day.
Both a sloppy bogey at the par-five 14th, despite being allowed a free drop after driving his approach into a muddy bank of a greenside bunker, and a missed birdie putt from four feet on the par-five eighth were crucial.
There are a few things I will regret, he continued. The chip on position 14 is 1.
“It was incredibly challenging to get the ball close to the holes, but I persevered even though I came up short.
I’ll keep returning till I receive another one, she said.
Clark had only made the cut in two of his six prior major championship outings before to this week, with his best finish a tie for 75th at the US PGA Championship in 2021.
The world number 32 frequently disproved his lack of experience in major championships, though, to make a grand entrance on one of the largest stages in the sport.
On the sun-drenched north course, Clark, who won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow last month, exuded confidence and serenity. He was even able to reduce the damage on his scorecard when he had difficulties.
He needed two tries to play out of waist-high grassy clumps to the left of the eighth green, but he was able to magnificently chip to three feet to ensure that he only lost one shot.
In winning the US Open, Clark became the fifth player in a row to win their first major. “That up and down for bogey was probably the key to the tournament,” said Clark.
After putting his tee shot into the rough on the edge of a greenside bunker on the par-three ninth, Clark managed to get himself out of another difficult situation by sinking a downhill putt of seven feet to save par. McIlroy missed a putt for a birdie on a comparable line just moments before.
Dropped shots on the 15th and 16th holes revived the prospect of a dramatic finish, but a visibly moved Clark, who had movingly expressed his desire to win for his late mother Lise, who passed away from breast cancer in 2013, hugged caddie John Ellis and family members on the 18th green after parring the hole to secure his victory.
He remarked, “I just felt like my mum was watching over me.
“I simply feel as though it was my time. For a very long time, I have dreamed of this occasion, and I have often imagined myself here in front of you guys, triumphantly winning the championship.
The best of the rest
The number one player in the world, Scottie Scheffler, finished third after signing for a total of 70 and seven under.
The American struggled to establish a rhythm on the greens, much like his playing partner McIlroy, despite adjusting his putter during practise sessions over the week.
“I just thought I wasn’t intelligent enough to advance on the board. It’s difficult to make putts, and you have to place the ball in the proper areas, according to the 2022 Masters champion.
Rickie Fowler, who shared the overnight lead, dropped to a dismal five-over 75 and tied for fifth place.
Cameron Smith, the current Open winner, finished the round one stroke ahead of Fowler after making three birdies on the back nine amid a late surge. Fowler had seven total bogeys during the round.
Min Woo Lee of Australia and Tommy Fleetwood finished the tournament at five under par. The Englishman shot the lowest round of the day, a seven-under 63, thanks to eagles on holes 6 and 14.
The 32-year-old, who also made four birdies, made history by shooting 63 twice at the US Open, becoming only the fourth player overall (after Greg Norman, Vijay Singh, and Brooks Koepka) to do so.
The defending champion of England finished the tournament at one under along with the winner of the US PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka, after firing a five-under 65 to finish at three under and tie for tenth.