Curtis Strange, 33, of Kingsmill, Virginia, shot an even par 71 in an 18-hole playoff to defeat England's Nick Faldo by four strokes at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. It was the third Open played at The Country Club and the third that was decided by a playoff. Francis Ouimet defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in 1913; Julius Boros defeated Jacky Cupit and Arnold Palmer in 1963. Strange and Faldo completed 72 holes in six-under-par 278. Faldo shot 72-67-68-71 - 278 and Strange shot 770-67-69-72.
Two strokes behind were D. A. Weibring, Mark O'Meara and Steve Pate. Paul Azinger and 1987 Champion Scott Simpson finished three strokes behind the leaders at three-under-par 281. Bob Gilder, Mike Nicolette and 1988 Masters winner Sandy Lyle shared the first-round lead at three-under-par 68. Five golfers - Simpson, Azinger, Seve Ballesteros, Larry Mize and Dick mast - were one stroke behind at 69. Strange, Lanny Wadkins and Craig Stadler finished in 70.
The good scoring continued in the second round, led by Simpson's 66. His 36-hole total of 135, seven under par, placed him one stroke ahead of Mize, who had a second round 67. Simpson became the first defending champion to lead after 36 holes since 1941 when 1940 champion Lawson Littler held the second-round lead. Strange and Gilder trailed Simpson by two strokes; Faldo and Lyle were four strokes off the pace.
Strange emerged as the leader after the third round by shooting 69 for a 54-hole total of 206, one stroke better than Simpson, who posted a 72, Gilder who shot 70, and Faldo, who moved into the tie for second with a 68. Weibring, who shot 68, and Mize with a third round 72 were two strokes behind. In the final round, it became a two-man battle as Strange and Faldo's closest competitors faltered. Faldo, the 1987 British Open Champion, moved a stroke in front when Strange bogeyed the second and third holes, but Strange birdied the par-3 seventh to pull even. They remained tied until the 16th, where Strange holed a 25-footer to save par and Faldo bogeyed.
Faldo drew even again when Strange bogeyed the 17th. Strange saved par from the front bunker on 18 and the two finished tied at 278. In the playoff, Strange birdied the fourth and seventh, went out in 34 and held a one-stroke lead. Curtis stretched his lead to two when Faldo bogeyed the 11th, but he gave the stroke back with a bogy at the 12th. Strange sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the 13th and Faldo bogeyed, pushing the American's lead to three strokes.
Faldo birdied the 14th but bogeyed three of the final four holes for 75 to Strange's 71. Bill Mayfair, the 1987 U.S. Amateur Champion, was the only amateur to make the cut, which came at 146. He finished with 287. The USGA accepted a record 5,775 entry for the Championship.
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 - $606,185.75