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1965


Gary Player

Gary Player, 29, of South Africa, became the first foreigner to win the Open Championship since Ted Ray in 1920. Player defeated Kel Nagle, a 44-year-old Australian, in a playoff at the Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis. They had tied after 72 holes with totals of 282, two over par. Player built a five-stroke lead after eight holes of the playoff and won, 71 to 74.

At the prize-giving ceremony after the playoff, Player announced that he would return $25,000 of his $26,000 prize to the USGA, asking that $5,000 be earmarked for cancer relief work and $20,000 to promote junior golf. His rounds in the Championship proper were 70-70-71-71-282. Player appeared to have a safe lead of three strokes with only three holes to play in the fourth round. Then he went two over par on the par-3 16th hole, just as Nagle birdied the par-5 17th. They parred in to tie; both narrowly missed long putts for birdies on the home green.

Nagle was the first-round leader with 68; Player led after 36 and 54 holes with totals of 140 and 211. Frank Beard, a 26-year old professional from Louisville, finished third with 284. Deane Beman, twice National Amateur Champion from Bethesda, Md., was low amateur; he tied for 11th at 290. Defending Champion Ken Venturi, his hands ailing because of a circulatory problem, failed to qualify for the final 36 holes.

The prize money was $123,890 in the Championship proper and $7,800 in Sectional Qualifying, for a grand total of $131,690, an Open record. Attendance, including the playoff, was 72,052, another record. The format was changed to spread the 72 holes over four days. Thus, for the first time in Open history two rounds were not scheduled for one day.

OPEN RECORDS


Starts - 29

Best Finish - Winner 1965

Rds - 109

Cuts Made - 25

Top 3 - 3

Top 5 - 3

Top 10 - 9

Top 25 - 19

Avg. - 72.87

Scores In 60s - 10

Rds Under Par - 13

Earnings - $108,470.85