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Clark scares 59 as weather threatens at Pebble Beach

Clark scares 59 as weather threatens at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Wyndham Clark made two eagles, nine birdies, a career-high 189 feet of putts and beat the Pebble Beach Golf Links tournament record by two shots on Saturday. But the highlight of his day was a 25-footer from the fringe at the 12th hole to salvage an otherwise spotless round.

Clark, whose 12-under 60 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am vaulted him into the lead, was cruising along at 10 under par through 11 holes when his 8-iron tee shot at No. 12 plugged into the front of a bunker. His second shot nestled outside another bunker, leading to him hitting his third left-handed.

“That bogey putt on 12, honestly, of any of the putts today that I was not really trying to make was that one,” Clark laughed. “I really was just focused on my speed and just trying to get it down there, two-putt, get the double, go to the next hole and move on. For that to go in, it was like all right, man, I'm hot.”

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Round Three
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Round Three

Highlights: Clark flirts with 59, still breaks Pebble record

Clark fired a 12-under 60 on Saturday to set the new competitive course record at Pebble Beach.

It should have been no surprise he was “hot” given how well he played from the outset.

Clark’s run began with an eagle at the second hole (38-foot putt), a birdie at the fourth and he made a 42-footer for another eagle at the sixth hole. That was before closing his opening nine with three consecutive birdies — and a 28. He picked up two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11 before his adventure at the 12th hole.

“Eagle [No.] 6, birdie 7, birdie 8 — that’s legit — birdied 9 and then he kept going, birdie 10, the one on 11 dribbled in and then he started to make a mess of things and that putt on 12 was one of the more remarkable bogey putts I’ve ever seen,” said Matt Kuchar, who was grouped with Clark. “He birdies 13, birdies 14 and you think, this is getting really exciting. He nearly finished the thing off.”

Clark said he started thinking about the possibility of shooting a 59 on the 10th hole and after he birdied No. 14, the chance to add his name to the record books was well within his grasp.

David Duval
David Duval

Rounds of 59 or lower in PGA Tour history

A look at the times players have shot 59 or lower on the PGA Tour.

“I think anyone that has ever shot 59 or gets into that kind of zone, you don't really think about score, you're just so focused on the next shot,” Clark said. “I really didn't think about it until I got to 18 tee box and when I did, I thought, oh, my gosh, it would have been really nice to have one of those last two [at Nos. 16 and 17] because then I only have to birdie 18.”

After missing birdie attempts at Nos. 16 (10 feet) and 17 (14 feet), Clark played the iconic par-5 18th hole perfectly, leaving a 26-footer for eagle and a 59. But, as happened on the previous two holes, his attempt came up short.

“Once I hit the fairway on 18 I knew I was going to have a chance to hopefully try to shoot that special number,” he said. “I gave it my best shot. Unfortunately, I left some putts short. I'm super happy with my round. Anytime you shoot 12 under anywhere you've got to be happy.”

Adding to the pressure on Saturday was a forecast that threatens to wash out play on Sunday with a 100% chance of rain and winds that could gust to 60 mph. With Monday’s forecast not much better, there’s a chance the event could be reduced to 54 holes.

“I definitely thought about it last night and this morning with everyone saying how bad the weather's going to be. All right, well, you've got to have that mentality that today's the last day so try to go for broke,” Clark said. “With that said, that's very rare that we have 54 holes, so I wasn't banking on that and I'm still not banking on it.”

Even if there is still golf to be played, Clark was inspired by his performance on Saturday, which he called the best putting round of his career. In fact, since winning last year’s U.S. Open he’s struggled on the greens and had fallen to 140th in strokes gained: putting this season.

Clark said the turnaround started last Sunday when he arrived early at Pebble Beach and started tinkering with different putters and grips.

“I had nine putters on the putting green and I've been using kind of the putter that Rickie [Fowler] and I have been using, kind of started using that last year and I've really struggled on the greens since the U.S. Open,” Clark said. “We resulted to changing to no line on the putter, I went a little bit shorter [shaft] and I went from being conventional to cross-hand. A lot of big changes.”

Clark was steady for Rounds 1 and 2 this week — he’s needed just 76 putts for the week — and his performance on Saturday allowed him to pick up 5.27 strokes on the field and post his lowest round on the PGA Tour.