Clark leads strong weekend for Colorado golfers

Clark and Hubbard top-five at Pebble Beach; Denver’s Jim Knous qualifies for WM Phoenix Open

By Jim Bebbington

Wyndham Clark used a record-setting Saturday round at the PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am to win his third tournament in nine months, leading a very strong weekend for Colorado pros.

Valor Christian graduate Clark won at Pebble Beach while Lakewood native Mark Hubbard finished tied for 4th. Then on Monday Jim Knous, a long-time pro from Littleton, earned a coveted spot at this weekend’s WM Phoenix Open by finishing in the top three of the brutally competitive Monday qualifier.

Clark’s victory came after he simply overwhelmed the famous Pebble Beach track on Saturday, shooting a tournament-record 60. He could have gone even lower, with at least two putts finishing a half-rotation away from going in.

What was the most amazing part for him?

“Probably what was going on internally, to be honest,” he said after his record round Saturday. “I mean, obviously I made a ton of putts and I hadn’t been in contention really since probably my U.S. Open win. To kind of have those nerves, and then obviously you’re also chasing a different kind of nerves of trying to shoot 59. So I started feeling the nerves kind of on 10 and, you know, then making that bogey on 12, making that putt was huge. But in my mind, I think in the past I would have kind of coasted in and shot a nice 8 or 9-under. To keep the pedal down and to stay aggressive mentally was the most impressive thing to myself. And then obviously making all those putts was, you know, out of the ordinary, it was pretty awesome.”

His bogey on 12 is already on the shortlist for bogey of the year. (OK; there is no such list.) But after an errant iron off the tee of the 200+ yard par 3, he chipped short of the green and ended up with an awkward choice. He could have either stood in a deep bunker and attempted to chip while gripping his club probably somewhere mid-shaft, or he could hit a club left-handed.

Clark chose the left-handed shot. The chip was not great, but when he sunk his 26-foot comeback putt, he had minimized the damage magnificently.

Clark said he had a tough night sleeping before what should have been Sunday’s round. He waited through the day while winds and rain battered the course and watched a movie with friends. He got the call that he had won while playing full-contact ping-pong with longtime friend Brian Kettler, his former English teacher at Valor Christian High School.

“We honestly were having a lot of fun,” Clark said. “It was about an hour, hour and 15 minutes into where we were both sweating when I got the call. We both kind of broke out in tears a little bit and hugged each other and embraced each other that wow, it kind of caught us off guard, to be honest.”

Clark won $3.6 million with the victory. He is expected to play this week at the WM Phoenix Open.

Hubbard is in his ninth season on the PGA Tour and last weekend’s finish was his fifth top-five finish. He earned his Pebble Beach paycheck similarly to Clark. Hubbard opened up with two decent rounds of 68 and 69 then went much lower – a 7-under par 65 – on Saturday. He was three shots behind Clark when weather forced the cancellation of the rest of the tournament. Hubbard won $877,000, the biggest paycheck of his career.

Knous, a Colorado School of Mines graduate from Littleton, has played on the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour since 2017 but has endured a wrist injury that sidelined him. He lost his access to both tours last year and has been contemplating a change of careers this year, he said. Monday he shot a 7-under par 64 at Pinnacle Peak Country Club to tie three others vying for three slots in this weekend’s WM Phoenix Open. Knous, Nicolo Galletti and Patton Kizzire both advanced after a two-hole playoff Monday night.

This weekend will be Knous’ first PGA Tour start since the 2022 Wyndham Championship. Knous’ first PGA Tour start was the 2017 WM Phoenix Open, which he qualified for again through the Monday Q process.

“I’m feeling a lot of joy,” he told golf podcaster and Monday Q Info blogger Ryan French. “I had my college coach on the bag – we’re going to enjoy this week. There’s a lot of feelings right now after going through a lot the past couple years. We’re going to have a good week this week. I’m excited to give it another go and hopefully wow the people on No. 16 with a hole-in-one or something like that. This career path is a grind – which is funny, I may be going a different way – but this week is going to be amazing, we’re going to soak it all in and we’re going to try to make a lot of birdies.”

 


Jim Bebbington is the Content Director of Colorado AvidGolfer. Contact him at [email protected]

Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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