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Thatcher, Britain's Iron Lady, quits

1990


Hale Irwin

Hale Irwin became the fifth player to win three or more U.S. Opens, defeating Mike Donald on the 19th hole of a playoff at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. Irwin and Donald each shot eight under par 280 for four rounds. Each then shot 74, two over par, in an 18-hole playoff and then Irwin holed an eight-foot-putt for a birdie on the first extra playoff hole. Leading by one stroke, Donald had bogeyed the 18th by hooking his drive into the trees.

By winning, Irwin, 45, became the oldest U.S. Open Champion. Raymond Floyd had won at 43 in 1986. Irwin had won previously in 1974 and 1979. Irwin had received a special exemption from the USGA. He completed 72 hole by shooting 31 on the second nine and 67 for the last round, holing a twisting 45-foot putt on the 72nd green. Donald, 34, was among the leaders from the beginning, shooting 67 in his opening round. He was one of 39 players who broke par for the first round, nearly doubling the former record number of 21 set in 1989 at Oak Hill in Rochester, New York.

The four-day total of 124 with rounds under par shattered the previous record of 64 set in 1988, at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. For the Championship, 28 players finished under par for 72 holes; the previous high was 11, also at The Country Club. Nick Faldo and Billy Ray Brown tied for third place at 281. Each missed makeable putts on the final hole.

Scott Simpson was nine under par early in the third round before falling back and finishing in a tie for 14th place at 3 under par 285. Curtis Strange was in position to win a third consecutive Open after shooting 68 in the third round, which left him just two strokes behind Donald and Brown. But Strange slipped to 75 in the fourth round and tied for 21st place.

OPEN RECORDS


Starts - 34

Best Finish - Won in 1974, '79 & '90

Rds - 120

Cuts Made - 27

Top 3 - 4

Top 5 - 5

Top 10 - 7

Top 25 - 13

Avg. - 73.02

Scores In 60s - 16

Rds Under Par - 22

Earnings - $516,428.85