Arnold Palmer Invitational: Wyndham Clark sinks 9 birdies, co-leads

Wyndham Clark made an abundance of birdies at Bay Hill, a course that, as a result of its problem, has been in comparison with the U.S. Open.

Contemplating Clark gained the U.S. Open final yr on the Los Angeles Nation Membership, he is aware of the right way to succeed on difficult golf programs.

He did simply that Friday.

“I all the time wish to suppose there are 9 birdies on the market, however, no, this golf course is without doubt one of the hardest programs on tour,” Clark mentioned after his spherical.

“There’s no gap that simply looks like a birdie; you all the time must sort of sack up and hit an incredible shot. You [need] to hit an incredible tee shot, after which you must hit an incredible second shot, however when you do this, it’s a birdie gap.”

Clark adopted this formulation early and infrequently, birdieing the third, 4th, and sixth holes to rapidly attain 4-under par for the championship.

Wyndham Clark, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Wyndham Clark acknowledges the followers after making a birdie.
Picture by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Photos

However he had some misfires on the par-4 eighth and par-4 ninth holes, two of Bay Hill’s hardest holes. He made two straight bogeys there to drop again to 2-under.

He then bounced again with a birdie on the brief par-4 tenth, however inexplicably bogeyed the par-5 twelfth—one of many simpler holes on the course.

Regardless, Clark known as the bogey putt he made at 12 the very best putt he made all day, which is kind of the assertion, contemplating he made loads of lengthy ones—together with a 32-footer at 17 and a 27-footer at 18.

“The bogey putt on 12 was a couple of 5-footer,” Clark defined.

“There’s hardly any grass on the greens proper now. They’re so quick. That putt may have wiggled offline, and making a double on primarily a birdie gap would have been horrible. So, making that was enormous as a result of it was a kind of momentum putts.”

That gave Clark the entire momentum on the planet, as he proceeded to birdie 5 of his final six holes.

However of these 5 par-breakers, Clark was most happy with his first one at 13.

“A stat I all the time love… to excel at and do nicely with is a bounce again,” Clark mentioned.

“So, birdieing 13 after bogeying 12 was enormous. It was a fairly straight putt, and straight putts from 20 toes are so onerous to make. We performed simply inside proper, and it stayed proper the place we wished. Actually, the final roll, it went in. So, that was simply enormous as a result of it’s all the time good to bounce again after a bogey.”

Humorous sufficient, Clark had a powerful disdain for Bay Hill earlier than final yr. He even informed himself he would by no means return after his first look at Arnie’s Place.

That modified final yr, because the Arnold Palmer Invitational turned a delegated occasion on tour. However Clark would have skipped it altogether if not for its prestigious discipline.

“To be trustworthy, I actually didn’t have excessive expectations going into final yr. I hit it rather well and located myself within the high 20, and I mentioned, ‘Okay, our recreation’s progressed to the purpose the place I really feel like I can play right here,’” Clark reminisced.

“So, I carried the identical mentality into this week, and truthfully, for me, making the lower and being the place I’m at is a win on a course that possibly historically hasn’t been my favourite.”

Clark’s full change in his psychological strategy is a testomony to his tenacity and fortitude, two features of his life that he has labored on over the previous couple of years.

However now that he finds himself in competition on a brutal golf course, Clark can solely do one factor over the ultimate 36 holes:

‘Sack up.’

Jack Milko is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Enjoying By. Remember to take a look at @_PlayingThrough for extra golf protection. You’ll be able to comply with him on Twitter @jack_milko as nicely.

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