Ken Venturi made the 1964 Open a most memorable Championship. After compiling
an outstanding amateur record and enjoying much early success as a professional,
Venturi lapsed into a 3-year slump beginning in 1961. He won less than $4,000
in 1963. Then, in the 1964 Open, Venturi made a remarkable comeback at the Congressional
Country Club, Washington, D.C. His 72-hole total was 278, two above the record
276, with rounds of 72-70-66-70. Tommy Jacobs was second with 282.
Adding to the drama was Venturi's physical condition on a brutally hot and humid
Saturday. Six strokes behind after 36 holes, Venturi turned in a 30, five under
par, on Saturday morning, and was six under par when he went over par on the
17th and 18th holes. He appeared exhausted after this third round of 66 and
there was doubt that he could play the fourth round. A doctor examined him and
permitted him to play on. Venturi continued to hit brilliant strokes, overhauled
the 54-hole leader, Jacobs, and, walking almost painfully, parred the last four
holes to finish four strokes ahead of Jacobs.
First prize was $17,000. Arnold Palmer's 68 was the only sub-par round on the
first day. Palmer followed with a 69 but did not retain his lead because Jacobs,
after a first round of 72, made an astounding 60-foot putt for a birdie on the
home green. His 64 tied the record for the lowest round in an Open set by Lee
Mackey, Jr. in 1950. Jacobs' third-round score of 70 put him at 206, two strokes
ahead of Venturi and six ahead of palmer, who slipped to a 75 in the third round.
Bob Charles, the 1963 British Open Champion, made a strong rally with a final
round of 68 to finish third at 283. Low amateur was John Farquhar of Amarillo,
Texas, with 297. Defending Champion Julius Boros had back trouble and his 36-hole
score of 154 did not make the cut. Total attendance for the Championship was
55,498, second only to the record of 62,300 for three days at Oakmont in 1962.