Billy Casper became the 11th player to win the Open a second time when he defeated
Arnold Palmer in a playoff over the Lake Course of the Olympic Country Club,
San Francisco. He won previously in 1959. Casper and Palmer had tied after 72
holes at 278, two under par and matching the second lowest score in Open history.
Twice Casper had to come from behind: once in the final round and again in the
With nine holes to play in the Championship proper, Casper trailed Palmer by
seven strokes. On the back nine Casper caught Palmer by scoring 32 against Arnold's
39. No one in Championship history had ever before come from seven strokes behind
with nine to play and tied for the lead. Palmer had gone out in 32 in the fourth
round and needed par on the last six holes to score 274 and break by two strokes
the Open scoring record of 276 set in 1948 by Ben Hogan. Palmer lost a stroke
at the 10th, another at the 13th, two at the 15th and then two more at the par-5
16th. Casper squared with a par-4 against Palmer's 5 at the 17th. He had then
recovered seven strokes in eight holes, five strokes in three holes!
In the playoff, Palmer raced ahead again with 33 on the out-going nine to Casper's
35. Then Palmer saw his lead erased when Bill holed a putt of fully 50 feet
for a birdie on the par-3 13th. From there Casper steadily built up his lead
and finished the round with 69 - one under par. Palmer shot 73. In the five
rounds Casper was under Olympic's forthright par 70 in four rounds. In the Championship
proper he scored 69-68-73-68-278, and then 69 in the playoff. Palmer scored
71-66-70-71-278 and 73. He and Casper shared the lead at the end of 36 holes
at 137 and then Arnold went three strokes ahead after 54 holes with a 207.
Jack Nicklaus was third with 285, seven strokes behind Casper and Palmer. Rives
McBee, an obscure young professional from Midland, Texas, equaled the Open's
single round scoring record with 64 in the second round. It was set originally
by Lee Mackey, Jr., in 1950 and equaled first by Tommy Jacobs in 1964. John
Miller, a 19-year-old member of Olympic and the 1964 United States Junior Amateur
Champion, was low amateur and tied for eighth place with 290. Gary Player, the
defending Champion, finished in a tie for 15th place with a score of 293.
The prize money was $147,490 in the Championship proper and $7,800 in sectional
Qualifying for a grand total of $155,290, an Open record.