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WAMC Sports Report 6/19/23: Wyndham Clark plays big, becomes a major champion at the US Open

Wyndham Clark holds the holds the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Los Angeles Country Club on Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Los Angeles.
George Walker IV
Wyndham Clark holds the holds the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Los Angeles Country Club on Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Los Angeles.


Wyndham Clark is the U.S. Open champion and certainly played the part. All he did was hold his nerve against a world-class collection of contenders. Clark held off Rory McIlroy to win by one shot at Los Angeles Country Club. And to think two months ago the 29-year-old from Denver was looking for his first PGA Tour title. Now he has two wins and is a major champion. And he likely will be part of the Ryder Cup team this fall. It was more disappointment for McIlroy. He birdied his first hole and that was his only birdie.

Rory McIlroy got the sort of break most players need to win a U.S. Open. If only he could’ve made a putt or two to go with it. The golf gods, to say nothing of the golf rulebook, gave McIlroy a chance to save par after his approach shot on the 14th hole embedded in the deep grass above a greenside bunker. But McIlroy missed the putt (on the 14th hole) — a common theme throughout the final round — and ended up with his only bogey of the day. That single shot cost him in a one-stroke loss to Wyndham Clark. McIlroy's drought in the majors is now at 33, a dry spell that is nearing nine full years.

Rickie Fowler showed off just about everything during the 123rd U.S. Open that once made him one of the most compelling figures in golf. Unfortunately for Fowler, that also includes another painful fade from title contention after he took a share of the lead into the final round. Fowler stumbled to a 75 Sunday, finishing in a three-way tie for fifth at Los Angeles Country Club with the worst final round among the top 19 finishers. Fowler still set a U.S. Open record with 23 birdies over his four rounds.

Tommy Fleetwood has shot 63 in the final round of the U.S. Open for the second time in five years. Fleetwood missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday that would have given him a 62 and a share of this tournament’s new single-round record. Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele both shot 62 on Thursday at Los Angeles Country Club. Fleetwood became the fourth player with multiple rounds of 63 in major championships, joining Greg Norman, Vijay Singh and Brooks Koepka. The 32-year-old Englishman finished at 5-under 275.


Folarin Balogun and Chris Richards scored their first international goals, both off assists from Gio Reyna, and the United States beat Canada 2-0 for the Americans’ second straight CONCACAF Nations League title. Richards scored in the 12th minute from a corner kick and Balogun doubled the lead in the 34th, He debuted in Thursday’s 3-0 win over Mexico after choosing to play the U.S. over England. The Americans were again led by interim coach B.J. Callaghan, who took over May 30 and also will run the team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup starting next weekend.


Alex Verdugo scored on a catcher’s interference to break a fourth-inning tie and then scored again in the fifth after reaching on a dropped popup and the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 4-1 to complete a doubleheader and series sweep of their AL East archrivals. Connor Wong and Verdugo hit consecutive RBI doubles off the Green Monster with two outs in a three-run sixth inning to lead the Red Sox to a 6-2 win in the opener. The Red Sox won the series opener 15-5 on Friday. It's Boston's first sweep of the Yankees in a doubleheader at Fenway since 1976.

Nolan Arenado hit two homers Sunday, including a tiebreaking shot in the ninth inning that lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to an 8-7 win over the New York Mets and a rare series win. Arenado hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Cardinals, who blew an early 5-1 lead. Paul DeJong and Jordan Walker also homered while Paul Goldschmidt had a two-run double for St. Louis, which was 0-5-1 in its previous six series.

Kyle Schwarber opened the game with his 20th home run and added an RBI single among his three hits to lead the sizzling Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. The Phillies swept the three-game series and have won six in a row. The A’s lost their fifth in a row after a six-game win streak and were swept in a series for the 10th time this year. Former Athletic Cristian Pache doubled twice and scored two runs for the Phillies. Aledmys Diaz homered for the A’s against reliever Matt Strahm. Oakland scored another run in the eighth off Jose Alvarado before Yunior Marte struck out the side in the ninth and recorded his first save.

The Boston Red Sox are among the teams in major league baseball commemorating Juneteenth. The Red Sox honored Ben Haith before the second game of their doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Synday. He's the designer of the red and blue Juneteenth flag with an exploding white star. Haith threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park and said he felt like he was "living a miracle." The Red Sox were the last team in the majors to integrate. Ceremonies in Arizona and Oakland also marked Juneteenth, which was the day that slavery ended in Texas. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.

The Atlanta Braves have designated infielder Charlie Culberson for assignment before his father was set to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Father’s Day. Culberson was cut before the team's game against Colorado. The 34-year-old from Rome, Georgia, was brought up from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 19 but had not appeared in any games since his promotion. After Culberson was let go, the father of Braves outfielder Michael Harris II took care of the first pitch Sunday at Truist Park. Catcher Chadwick Tromp was recalled from Gwinnett.


Breanna Stewart rebounded from one of the worst games of her career with a stellar effort, scoring 28 points with 14 rebounds and seven assists to lift the New York Liberty to an 89-71 win over the Phoenix Mercury, who were playing without an injured Brittney Griner. Griner missed her second straight game with a hip injury she suffered against Seattle on Tuesday. The All-Star center received a warm standing ovation from the crowd when a video was played of her at the first timeout. With Griner potentially playing in her first game in New York since returning to the U.S. after being detained for 10 months in Russia last year, the Liberty drew a sellout crowd of 9,278.

DeWanna Bonner scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Alyssa Thomas added 16 points, 12 assists and five steals to help the Connecticut Sun beat the Los Angeles Sparks 83-74. Brionna Jones scored 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds for Connecticut. Thomas moved past Taj McWilliams-Franklin into 3rd on the Sun’s career scoring list with 3,027 points. DiJonai Carrington hit two free throws with 2:48 remaining to give Connecticut the lead for good and spark a 9-0 closing run. The Sparks went 0 for 6 from the field over the final three minutes. Nneka Ogwumike had her sixth double-double of the season and led Los Angeles with 19 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and five assists. Jordin Canada added 14 points and six assists.


Bradley Beal is being traded to Phoenix, where he will form a new power trio alongside Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. The Washington Wizards and the Suns agreed to the deal on Sunday, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The person says Phoenix has agreed to send Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and a package of future second-round picks to Washington for Beal, a three-time All-Star. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade is pending league approval. Beal's agent says he waived his no-trade clause to make the deal happen.


Marty Walsh was less than halfway through his term in the Biden administration as labor secretary when the phone rang with an interesting opportunity. The call was about a job running the NHL Players' Association. The former mayor of Boston and longtime Bruins fan was intrigued, interviewed and earlier this year got the role as executive director. Now three months into the job, Walsh is trying to get to know players and what they care the most about. His most pressing issue is the Arizona Coyotes and their 5,000-seat arena after a referendum for a new building failed.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.