American Wyndham Clark won the 123rd US Open on Father’s Day, but his thoughts immediately turned to his late mother at Los Angeles Country Club.
Lise Clark introduced her son to the game of golf and was a massive influence on his career before her death from breast cancer in 2013.
Making just his seventh major start, Clark carded a closing round of 70 to finish 10 under par and a shot ahead of four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, with world number one Scottie Scheffler two strokes further back.
“I just feel like my mom was watching over me today,” an emotional Clark said at the presentation ceremony. “She can’t be here… miss you mom.
“She was so positive and such a motivator in what she did. She’d be crying tears of joy (now). She called me ‘winner’ when I was little.
“When she was sick and I was in college, she told me, ‘Hey, play big’. Play for something bigger than yourself. You have a platform to either witness or help or be a role model for so many people.
“I know she’d be proud of me. I feel like I have worked so hard and dreamed about this moment for long. So many times I’ve visualised being here in front of you guys winning this championship.”
McIlroy was left to rue making just a solitary birdie on the opening hole as his wait for a fifth major title and first since 2014 goes on.
“The golf course was playing really tricky and obviously the scores in the final few groups reflected that,” said McIlroy, who matched Clark’s closing 70.
“There was a couple of things that I probably would have done differently, but all in all, I played a solid round of golf.
“That one wedge shot on 14 (which plugged in the face of a bunker), missed birdie putt on eight – really apart from that, I did everything else the way I wanted to.
“It’s fine, fine margins at this level and at this tournament especially, but I fought to the very end. I obviously never give up.
“And I’m getting closer. The more I keep putting myself in these positions, sooner or later it’s going to happen for me. Just got to regroup and get focused for the Open at Hoylake in a few weeks’ time.”