Houston Open: Wyndham Clark overcomes sloppy 3-putt, battles back

His back still hurts.

But it likely hurt him even more early in his second round. Wyndham Clark made a back-breaking mistake on the par-3 11th Friday morning—his second hole of the day.

He faced a 7-footer for par, but instead of making a save and escaping unscathed, he inexplicably three-putted. Clark walked away miffed with a double-bogey five.

And yet, as he has so many times before, Clark bounced back with a vengeance. He made a birdie on the next hole and settled into his round at the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

“[My back] was a little tight today. It’s getting better every day,” Clark said after his 2-under 68.

Wyndham Clark during the second round of the 2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open.
Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

“I’m not at my best. I feel like I shot the worst score I could for the two rounds, but all in all, I am making the cut and battling the back. It was solid thus far.”

The day before, Clark collapsed on the back nine, making three bogeys over his final six holes to finish at even-par for the championship.

But no such collapse occurred on Friday, even though Clark finished with a bogey on the par-3 9th. Instead, he had a solid round of golf, keeping himself within striking distance on a day with blustery conditions.

“I’m seven shots back. It’s going to be tough,” Clark added.

“The good thing is if it’s going to be windy going forward, I feel like I haven’t played my best golf, and we go and start striping it a little bit better; yeah, we could go shoot 10 under on the weekend, and maybe have a chance.”

Clark has had his fair share of incredible rounds in 2024. En route to his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he set a new Pebble Beach scoring record. Then, he opened up The Players Championship with a pair of 65s but ultimately finished one lip-out short of Scottie Scheffler. He also shot a final-round 63 at The Sentry in early January.

But Clark accomplished all of that with a healthy back.

Now, he has lingering pain that clearly has caused him discomfort. And yet, the reigning U.S. Open champion will continue to march on.

Wyndham Clark, PGA Tour, Texas Children’s Houston Open

Wyndham Clark and Tony Finau during the second round of the 2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open.
Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

“I’m going to limit the amount of balls I hit,” Clark said.

“I’ll go get work done, do stuff in the gym, try to ice or put heat on my back, or whatever it is to at least get it ready for tomorrow.”

Clark is seven strokes behind Tony Finau, who tied the course record Friday with an 8-under 62. Clark had a front seat for that performance, as he and Finau also played together during the first two rounds.

“I figured he did something like that because he made everything,” Clark said of Finau.

“We were joking because about four or five times today, I had to move his coin. I hit the putt, I missed, and then he made, so I kept telling him I was dishing him assists. With that said, he hit it amazingly, and then he made a lot of putts, so it was fun to watch.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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