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1989


Curtis Strange

Curtis Strange, 34, became the sixth man to win consecutive Open Championships and the first in 38 years, scoring 278 at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York and winning by one stroke over Mark McCumber, Chip Beck, and Ian Woosnam, a Welshman playing in his first U.S. Open. By winning two successive championships, Strange followed Willie Anderson (1903-04-05), John McDermott (1911-12), Bob Jones (1929-30), Ralph Guldahl (1937-38) and Ben Hogan (1950-51).

Rochester had been hit by heavy rains throughout the spring and a heavy downpour Friday night threatened to postpone the third round, but through superb work by the Oak Hill grounds crew, and with help from the fire department of the town of Pittsford which sent a high-capacity pumper to help drain a flooded fairway, the round was completed on schedule. Strange shot 71 in the first round and stood five strokes behind the leaders. Bernhard Langer, Payne Stewart and Jay Don Blake shot 66. On a day of low scoring, 21 broke par 70.

Although Oak Hill played harder in the second round with only 15 men breaking par, the round began with four men scoring holes in one within an hour and a half. Doug Weaver, Mark Wiebe, Jerry Pate an Nick Price each holed 7-iron tee shots Ion the sixth, a par 3 of 167 yards. Strange shot 64 and with 135 for 36 holes led Tom Kite by one stroke. Kite shot 69. The rain fell so heavily the night after the second round that Oak Hill was flooded and unplayable the following morning.

In order to complete the third round, the field was split in two, with the lower scorers playing in threes from the first tee, and the higher scorers from the 10th. With three bogeys and no birdies, Strange shot 73 and fell into third place, three strokes behind Kite, with another 69, and two behind Scott Simpson.

When Kite birdied the third hole of the fourth round, he suddenly shot three strokes ahead of the field, but then he drove into a creek on the fifth hole, made 7 on a par 4, and fell from the lead. He finished with a 78, and dropped into ninth place. Playing steady par golf, Strange moved into the lead after the 10th. He parred the first 15 holes, and made his first birdie in 35 holes on the 16th, opening his lead to two strokes over McCumber, Beck and Woosnam. With a three-putt for bogey on the 18th, Strange scored 70 in the fourth round and still won by a stroke.

OPEN RECORDS


Starts - 22

Best Finish - Winner 1988 & '89

Rds - 75

Cuts Made - 15

Top 3 - 3

Top 5 - 5

Top 10 - 5

Top 25 - 10

Avg. - 72.45

Scores In 60s - 14

Rds Under Par - 20

Earnings - $609,185.75