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Tournament Highlights – U.S. Open 2023

Tournament Highlights - U.S. Open 2023
(UPI/Alamy)

Explore the crucial facts surrounding the 2023 U.S. Open, encompassing Wyndham Clark’s victory and valuable course insights.

Location

Los Angeles Country Club, Los Angeles, Calif.

Yardage

7,423; par 72

Tournament Record

268 – Rory McIlroy (2011)

Purse

$20 million (2022)

Tournament Insight

The U.S. Open is the national championship run by the United States Golf Association and has been played since 1895. The field consists of players exempt in various categories along with those who make it through sectional and international qualifying. The event moves to a different course each year, typically to some of the nation’s greatest courses.

This was the first time the U.S. Open was contested at Los Angeles Country Club, a very well-respected course by design aficionados that has been intensely private throughout most of its history. The Club hadn’t hosted the top professionals since the 1940 Los Angeles Open.

Course Insight

Los Angeles Country Club moved in 1911 to its current site, which now sits inside an exclusive Beverly Hills neighborhood. The original course was laid out by members, but the North Course was essentially created in a rerouting by architect George Thomas and his associate William Bell in 1927. Architect Gil Hanse directed a much-praised restoration in 2010, bringing back the original bunkering and greens shapes that had been lost. It hosted the Walker Cup amateur event in 2017. The course features fairways that are wider than most other U.S. Open layouts—many with severely canted, wiry Bermuda rough, and with approaches to creatively shaped greens that fall off into surrounds and deep bunkers requiring a deft short game. It has five widely varied par 3s, ranging from the downhill 290-yard 11th with its Los Angeles skyline backdrop to the little 15th, listed at 124 yards but playing in one round at 81 yards. That short hole is followed by a finishing stretch of par 4s measuring 543, 520 and 493 yards.

How Wyndham Clark won in 2023

Wyndham Clark claimed his first major championship with just his second PGA TOUR victory, the first coming six weeks earlier at the Wells Fargo Championship. Clark gained a tie for the 54-hole lead with Rickie Fowler when he birdied the 18th hole in the third round and Fowler bogeyed. Fowler, who held or shared the lead after each of the first three rounds, fell back with a 75 on Sunday, leaving the tournament as a two-man battle between Clark and Rory McIlroy. Clark shot a 1-under 34 on the front nine and took a three-stroke lead with a birdie on 14. Clark bogeyed 15 and 16 but made clutch pars on the difficult 17th and 18th for a closing 71 and 10-under 270 total. McIlroy had 16 pars in a final-round 70 with a birdie on the first hole and a costly bogey on the par-5 14th to finish one back.

  • The first-round scoring was extraordinary, with Fowler and Xander Schauffele both shooting 62 to set a new U.S. Open 18-hole record. Tommy Fleetwood shot a 63 in the final round, becoming the first player to shoot 63 twice in a U.S. Open (also 2018).
  • Clark’s 270 total was the second best in U.S. Open history to McIlroy’s 268 in 2011.
  • Clark had previously competed in only six major championships, with four missed cuts and a best finish of T75. He had missed the cut in both prior U.S. Opens.
  • Clark ranked second in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and fourth in Strokes Gained: Putting. He had the fewest putts per round (27.5).
  • Fowler became the 12th player to hold at least a share of the lead at the end of the first three rounds and not win.

This was first published in Essential Golf – you can read the complete magazine here.

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