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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Final round at Pebble Beach canceled amid fierce storm; Wyndham Clark wins

    Wyndham Clark holds the trophy Monday after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Pebble Beach, Calif. Clark was declared the 54-hole winner at the first full signature event of the PGA Tour season when rain and dangerous wind postponed the final round on Sunday and tour and Monterey County officials decided it was too dangerous to play on Monday. (Nic Coury/AP Photo)

    With an “atmospheric river” slamming into California, the PGA Tour decided Sunday night to cancel the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which previously had been postponed until Monday.

    The decision to end the tournament after 54 holes made a winner of Wyndham Clark, whose 12-under-par round of 60 on Saturday not only propelled him to a one-shot lead but set a course record.

    “The storm affecting the Monterey Peninsula throughout the day Sunday is forecast to continue into the early hours of Monday with very strong winds,” the PGA Tour said in its announcement. “Although conditions are forecast to improve through the morning Monday, after consultation with Monterey County emergency authorities, who have implemented a Shelter in Place order until early tomorrow morning for the greater Pebble Beach community, and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of all constituents, there will be no play on Monday.”

    The 30-year-old Clark, who won last year’s U.S. Open, got his third victory on the tour, including another 2023 title at the Wells Fargo Championship. His birdie putt at 18 on Saturday, sealing a remarkable performance that was inches away from going below 60, turned out to be the last stroke he needed.

    “You’ve got to have that mentality that today’s the last day, so try to go for broke,” Clark said after Saturday’s round while noting that the forecast at the time augured poorly for the completion of the tournament. “With that said, that’s very rare that we have 54 holes, so I wasn’t banking on that and I’m still not banking on it.”

    By that point, rain had already been falling at the fabled venue south of the Bay Area, and conditions worsened Sunday as expected. Ferocious wind arrived at a course already saturated overnight.

    The PGA Tour announced Sunday morning that the “potentially historic storm system” would delay the final round, then said around midday that it would be played Monday. The cancellation came hours later.

    As a result, the first full-field version of the tour’s new “signature” events (formerly referred to as “designated” events) this season came to an abrupt halt, leaving CBS and golf fans bereft of big-name action amid an iconic setting on the Sunday before the Super Bowl.

    Among the notable changes to a tournament that has been staged since 1937: celebrity amateurs in the first two rounds only, a professional field of just 80 players and no cut. Those format alterations, along with a greatly beefed-up purse of $20 million, attracted a much stronger field than had been the norm in recent decades.

    Of the top 50 finishers in last year’s FedEx Cup standings, 49 agreed to tee it up at Monterey Peninsula. The one who did not was Jon Rahm, the defending Masters champion who defected to LIV Golf in December and, as a result, spent his weekend competing at that circuit’s season opener in Mexico.

    A major part of LIV’s brand, one built into its very name, is that all of its tournaments play out over 54 holes, but this was the first time a PGA Tour event ended after just three rounds since 2016. Before Sunday, the most recent 54-hole winner at Pebble Beach was Dustin Johnson in 2009.

    Clark topped this year’s truncated tournament at 17-under 199. Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg (200) finished one stroke back, and France’s Matthieu Pavon (201) was third.

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