KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – How’s Wyndham Clark rolling?
On Monday, the first alternate learned he got into the field for the 103rd PGA Championship when two-time PGA winner Vijay Singh withdrew.
On Tuesday, playing the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island for the first time, Clark took to the tee on the terrifying 223-yard 17th hole where the petite green is guarded by water on the right and two deep waste areas on the left. On his first swing, he made a hole-in-one.
“It was a pretty surreal shot,” Clark told Golfweek.
Clark had seen multiple posts from players on Twitter and Instagram showcasing the difficulty of the hole. Seeing the hole for the first time, it didn’t take long for Clark to realize how arduous the par 3 could be. And the backup on the tee was another indication of the grueling challenge.
Using a PXG GEN4 4-iron, Clark sent his Titleist Pro V1x to the sky.
“It was blowing 20-plus (mph),” Clark said. “I just set up and the wind was in from off the right. I hit it perfect and it was going right at the flag. And in the air, we were all like, ‘Drinks on you,’ ‘hole-in-one,’ blah blah blah. And then it lands, and it started rolling and it goes in.
“I’m bummed it didn’t happen on the weekend. But it was pretty awesome.”
But not pretty expensive.
“There were like 700 people out there and if I had run up a bar tab, I would have to finish top 20 this week to get my money back,” he laughed.
It was Clark’s third hole-in-one on a regulation-sized golf course; he’s had 20-30 on par-3 courses. His latest ace, however, did not alter his view of the hole.
“It’s one of the toughest par-3s I’ve ever seen, one of the toughest holes I’ve played in all of golf,” he said. “You look at it from the tee you know you can obviously miss it left but that’s a tough spot and if you miss it right or come up short, you’re in the water.
“We got to the green and my caddie said, ‘Go put balls in the bunkers on the left because that’s where we’re going to be. He was joking but he knows hitting the green during the tournament is going to be an incredible shot.”