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In his first year as a professional, Jack Nicklaus, 22, won the 62nd Open Championship
at the Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa. Not since the days of Bob Jones had
the same person been the latest winner of both the Open and the Amateur championships.
The Open was decided by an 18-hole playoff after Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer,
the 1960 Champion, tied at 283, one under par.
During the playoff Nicklaus went ahead by one stroke on the fist hole, led by
four strokes after six holes, and eventually won by 71 to 74. It was the fist
victory as a professional for Nicklaus who won the Amateur Championship in 1959
and 1961. On the third day, before 24,492 spectators, the greatest gallery in
the history of the Open, Nicklaus and Palmer stated a classic duel during the
final holes. They were tied after 67 holes and both parred in.
On the 72nd green Nicklaus missed a 15-foot putt for a birdie and then watched
Palmer, playing in the next group, fail to make a 20-foot putt for a birdie.
Nicklaus' scores were 72-70-72-69-283. Palmers' rounds were 71-68-73-71-283.
Nicklaus, renowned for his long driving, was also a remarkable putter. He three-putted
only once in 90 holes on the testing Oakmont greens. Palmer, on the other hand,
three-puttted 10 times.
The first-round leader was Gene Littler, the defending Champion who scored 69.
After 36 holes Palmer and Bob Rosburg were tied at 139. Palmer and Bobby Nichols
shared the 54-hole lead at 212. During the last day six players - Nicklaus,
Palmer, Rosburg, Nichols, Phil Rodgers and Gary Player - held the lead at various
times. Nichols and Rodgers, who made an 8 on the par-4 17th hole during the
first round, tied for third at 285. Deane R. Beman, whose 67 in the fourth round
was the lowest 18-hole score of the Championship, was low amateur with 293;
Beman finished tied for 14th Records were established in both entries and attendance.
The entry of 2,474 surpassed the 2,453 mark set in 1960. The three-day attendance
was 62,300, far ahead of the previous record of 47,975 set in 1961. Prize money
of $73,800 in the Championship proper included bonuses of $2,500 each to Nicklaus
and Palmer in the playoff; Nicklaus received $17,500 all told.
Additionally, $7,800 was awarded to professionals in 13 Sectional Qualifying
Championships for a grand total of $81,600 for the entire Championship. Ben
Hogan, who was not exempt from qualifying for the first time since 1941, was
prevented by bursitis in a shoulder from tying to qualify sectionally.
Starts - 44
Best Finish - Winner 1962, '67, '72, & '80
Rds - 160
Cuts Made - 35
Top 3 - 9
Top 5 - 11
Top 10 - 18
Top 25 - 22
Avg. - 72.59
Scores In 60s - 29
Rds Under Par - 37
Earnings - $372,245.05