First PGA Tour victory narrowly eludes Colorado native Wyndham Clark, who has posted top-6s in 3 of his last 4 events; former CU golfer Yannik Paul notches third straight top-6 on DP World Tour; ex-Buff Steve Jones records best Champions finish in 5 years
By Gary Baines – 4/23/2023
The last time Wyndham Clark won a notable golf tournament was six years ago this month in his native state as he prevailed for the Pac-12 Conference title at Boulder Country Club.
The last time a Colorado-born golfer is believed to have won on the PGA Tour is nearly 20 years ago when Denver native Jonathan Kaye prevailed at the Buick Classic in June 2003.
But Clark certainly looked poised to end those long droughts on Sunday while teaming with longtime acquaintance Beau Hossler in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the lone two-man team event on the PGA Tour.
The pair was up by two when Clark birdied the fifth hole on Sunday, when an alternate-shot format was used. And they shared the lead halfway through the back nine. But their second bogey of the day — and just the second of the tournament — doomed their chances as Hossler hooked his tee shot into the water on No. 16. (They also bogeyed 17.) Also hurting the cause was a 6 on the par-5 seventh — where their short game was missing in action after they had just 219 yards left for their second shot. Likewise not helping matters were four missed putts inside of 11 feet in the final 11 holes.
At the end of the day, Clark and Hossler couldn’t convert their 18-, 36- and 54-hole lead into their first PGA Tour victories. Instead, Davis Riley and Nick Hardy recorded PGA Tour wins No. 1 after playing their last eight holes in 5 under. Clark and Hossler birdied the last to finish solo third place, three strokes back. It was a season-best showing for both.
While Clark couldn’t nail down his first PGA Tour victory, he continued his very strong play this season. This week marked his 14th straight cut made and his fifth top 10 showing of the season.
Clark, who won the 2010 CGA Amateur at Boulder Country Club at age 16, has posted top-6 finishes in three of his last four PGA Tour starts. He’s now No. 40 on the season-long FedExCup standings.
Clark and Hossler closed with a 1-under-par 71 in Sunday’s alternate shot, putting them at 27 under for the week. Each earned $332,175 for the performance.
Clark and Hossler received plenty of exposure over the weekend. Besides being near the top of the leaderboard continuously, they were also interviewed by CBS on Saturday — while walking down the 16th hole in the midst of their round. The two have known one another for almost two decades, since their junior golf days. Clark is now 29 and Hossler 28.
For all the scores from the Zurich Classic, CLICK HERE.
Yannik Paul continues to roll on the DP World Tour.
Elsewhere in major tour golf for player with strong Colorado ties:
— Former University of Colorado golfer Yannik Paul used a stellar weekend — 67-65 — to tie for sixth in the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan on the DP World Tour.
Paul recorded seven birdies and two bogeys in Sunday’s final round, leaving him at 11-under 269, four back of champion Lucas Herbert.
It marked Paul’s third consecutive top-six finish on the DP World Tour, coming off of back-to-back runner-ups in Asia. The former Buff sits No. 11 on the season-long Race to Dubai Rankings for the DP World Tour.
Since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Paul has recorded nine top-10s on the former European Tour.
For all the results from Japan, CLICK HERE.
— Steve Jones is now 64 years and hadn’t made a start on PGA Tour Champions since October.
But if that seems like a recipe for rusty play, think again.
Jones, the former CU golfer who won the 1996 U.S. Open, closed with a 6-under-par 65 on Sunday to finish 11th at the Invited Celebrity Classic in Irving, Texas. It marked Jones’ best showing on the Champions circuit since he placed sixth at the 2018 Toshiba Classic.
The eight-time PGA Tour winner went bogey-free with six birdies in the final round. He ended up at 5-under 208.
Also with a good showing in the Lone Star State was longtime Texas — and former Aspen — resident Justin Leonard. His 10th-place showing was the third top-10 of 2023 for Leonard, who posted rounds of 70-70-67 for a 6-under 207 total.
For all the scores from the Invited Celebrity Classic, CLICK HERE.
About the Author: Gary Baines owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com