Wyndham Clark finds himself in unfamiliar territory Sunday at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.). The PGA Tour rookie sits atop the leaderboard at 7-under, with veterans Vijay Singh (6-under) and Rickie Fowler nipping at his heels.
In his first three rounds, the 25-year old has shot a 69, 67 and 67 to project into the top-20 of the FedEx Standings. He has totaled 16 birdies to overcome a triple-bogey on the 12th hole on Friday. He is now set up for his first tour win in his young career.
UPDATE: Clark recorded a 1-over par to fall to 5th place. Keith Mitchell seized the title with a 9-under finish, including 3-under on Sunday.
Here are the 5 Fast Facts you need to know:
1. Clark Worked All Last Year on the Web.com Tour to Earn a Spot on the 2019 PGA Tour
He finished tied for No. 23 at the 2018 Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament to guarantee at least 8 starts on the Web.com Tour season. He took advantage of the opportunity and earned full status, and eventually made 24 starts, with four top-10 finishes.
He clawed his way to second place at the 2018 United Leasing & Finance Championship after just 30 strokes on the back-9 on the final day. He ended up just a stroke behind winner Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, bolstered by a chip for an eagle on the 14th hole.
“I aimed at the tower in the center of the green, tugged it a little bit and the wind pushed it,” he said afterward to PGA.com. “The next thing you know, it’s going right at the pin. It went a little left, landed perfect and went up past the pin … hung on the collar and started trickling back. It just kept going, and going, and going. And people started screaming.”
He finished 16th on the regular season money list to secure his PGA TOUR card for the 2018-19 season.
2. He Played Collegiately at Oklahoma State and Oregon
After graduating from Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch (Co.), he enrolled at Oklahoma State. Coincidentally, he started up a friendship with fellow Cowboy Rickie Fowler, who founds himself trailing Clark by 2 strokes. He finished his redshirt freshman season as the Big XII Player of the Year.
After the 2015-16 season, he requested a release to transfer, landing at Oregon with Ducks head coach Casey Martin. He filled a hole on the lineup for the departed Aaron Wise, the 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson champion. Clark led the Ducks to the 2017 NCAA Championship.
“I’ve never won a championship that big,” he said. “Not only did I do it individually, but we did it as a team, which was awesome. It was really fun to share, and we all had a blast doing it.”
3. Lisa Clark, His Mother and Inspiration, Passed Away From Breast Cancer in 2013
Clark’s mom, Lisa, first put him on the golf course at 3 years old. “I hit a bucket of balls and asked to hit another bucket,” Wyndham recalled. He took to golf so quickly that he made his first hole-in-one when he was 6.
Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. After years of holding the disease at bay, she passed away in 2013 while Wyndham competed at Oklahoma State.
“She’s a lot of the reason why I play today,” Clark once told the school newspaper at Oregon. “She was there when I played bad, and there to console me and make me feel better. When I played great she was there to hug me and be super excited for me. She was a huge part of my upbringing.”
After ranking ninth in the 2013-14 Golfweek rankings, Wyndham “fell off a cliff” according to his father Randall.
After plummeting to 241 spots in the rankings, Wyndham leaned on his Christian faith. He also transferred to Oregon to find people that “won’t really know about my story and what happened to my mom.”
4. He Attended High School with Christian McCaffery, the Carolina Panthers RB
Valor Christian High School is a place with many famous athletic alumni. Clark attended the school while fellow Web.com Tour memeber Maverick McNealy and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey were there, as well. McNealy’s best finish was second at this year’s LECOM Suncoast Classic.
McCaffrey was drafted eighth by Carolina in the 2017 NFL Draft. Christian’s brothers all play football at major levels. Max currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers, while younger brothers Dylan and Luke are on scholarship at Michigan and Nebraska, respectively.
Valor Christian is also the alma mater of Luke Del Rio, former Florida Gators quarterback and son of former NFL head coach Jack Del Rio.
Asked of what he thought of golfing in Colorado, Wyndham has this to say in a Q&A with CHSAA.org.
I think it’s a disadvantage, personally. Because you don’t ever really play at altitude at any of these events. The most you play at is maybe 1,000 feet. I think growing up in Colorado, not only are you playing different distances, but the ball actually spins less and is affect by the air less. So the ball goes straighter and doesn’t go offline as much. When you go play in Florida or other places where the air is thick, your misses are exaggerated a lot more. I think that’s definitely a disadvantage.
5. He is Represented by Wasserman, and He Has a Sponsorship Deal with Parsons XTreme Golf
According to Liz Mullen of L.A. Sports Business Journal, Clark carries sponsorships with Parsons XTrem Golf and Nike.
Golfer Wyndham Clark, who recently turned pro, has signed an endorsement deal with Parsons Xtreme Golf and will wear PXG on the front of his cap.
Clark, represented by Wasserman golf agent Terry Reilly, also signed a deal with Nike (NYSE: NKE) for apparel and shoes and with Titleist for ball.
From our very own Anthony Koon, his net worth is growing with each tournament success.
Wyndham Clark has played in 18 total PGA events since his debut in 2017, making the cut in 10 of them. With 10 events under his belt in 2019, this year marks the most active in his young career. Clark’s total career earnings are $338,632, with $252,898 of that coming this year alone. Should Clark bring home the title at the 2019 Honda Classic, he will net himself a hefty sum of $1,224,000, just under four times his career earnings over three years.
Clark tees off at 1:35 p.m. EST, and is paired with Singh.