Clarke crowns Wells Fargo for first PGA win

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Wyndham Clarke, left, reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 12th hole on his way to victory at the PGA Wells Fargo Championship, while runner-up Xander Schaafele looks on

Wyndham Clarke edged past defending Olympic champion Xander Schoeffel a back-nine battle on Sunday to win the Wells Fargo Championship by four strokes for his first career PGA Tour win.

The 29-year-old American carded a three-under 68 to finish at 19-under 265 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, to beat fifth-place Schoeffel, shot 70 to finish at 269. Did.

Clark said, “I'm feeling a little suffocated.” “Five years has been a long time to get to this point on tour. I thought I would have had one earlier but it was worth the wait. I am so grateful.”

Clarke lost a two-stroke lead early in the day, then led by a stroke on every hole from the eighth through the 12th, and held off partner Schaeffel to regain command.

“There's a lot of it,” Clarke said. “There have been times when I wanted to cry and break the club, and I have broken the club sometimes, it has been lovely to be in this journey and to get to this point.

“It's amazing to finally do it.”

Clarke said it takes a lot of mental toughness to pull off the win, something he has worked hard for this year.

“Mentally I was very strong,” he said. “The start didn't go great. I was kind of shaky. In years past I probably would have folded. This time I just hung in there patiently and I caught fire at the back.”

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Clarke won the $3.6 million top prize in the $20 million event, surpassing his previous PGA payout of $485,000.

His PGA victory fulfilled a dream he shared with his late mother, who died of cancer when Clark was in college.

“My mother, of course, is not here,” he said. “I wish she was, but I know she's watching.”

England's Tyrrell Hatton and American Harris English shared third place on 272 with England's Tommy Fleetwood and Australia's Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, another stroke adrift.

Clarke, world . 80, had his best finish as runner-up at the 2020 Bermuda Championships, scoring three top-six finishes in his last five before his breakthrough.

Schaffel settled for his fifth consecutive top-10 result in his quest for his eighth career PGA title and first of the year.

– Clark stumbles, climbs –

Clarke started with a bogey, finding her way to the left cart off the tee, and Schaeffel pulled off a nine-foot birdie putt to level the third.

Schoeffel birdied the par-5 seventh after pitching from four feet to take the lead, but Clarke made a four-foot birdie putt on the eighth at bridge level.

Schaeffel missed a par putt on the nine from inside eight feet and was behind again at the turn.

Clarke flew to five feet from a bunker and holed his birdie putt on the par-5 10th, then Schoeffel found a bunker on 11 and missed a 10-foot par putt.

Clarke followed with a 19-foot birdie putt at the 12th to extend his lead to four strokes, and maintained the margin by sinking a birdie from 3 1/2 feet on the 14th, right after Scheffel's birdie.

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Schoeffel made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 15th but again Clarke responded, curling in a tense nine-foot birdie putt to reach 20-under par and stay four ahead.

Clarke made a pressure-filled par putt on the 16th from 6 1/2 feet, Schoeffel made a bogey on the par-3 17th and Clarke ended the affair with a bogey.