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Jack Nicklaus

Jack W. Nicklaus, 27, of Columbus, Ohio, set a new Open scoring record of 275 over the Baltusrol Golf Club's Lower Course, Springfield, New Jersey, in winning his second Championship. The previous record was 276, established by Ben Hogan at the Riviera Country Club, Los Angeles, in 1948. Nicklaus thus became the 12th player to win the Open more than once; he won previously in 1962.

At Baltusrol, Nicklaus had rounds of 71,67, 72 and a closing 65,which equaled the final round record. He won by four strokes over Arnold Palmer, of Latrobe, Pa., who had 279. For the first time since 1954 an amateur held the outright lead in the Open. Martin A. Fleckman, 23, of Port Arthur, Texas, scored 67 in the first round and took a two-stroke lead over seven others who had 69. Fleckman scored 73 in the second round and fell three strokes behind Palmer, who had 69-68-137. Nicklaus was then second, one stroke behind Palmer. A third-round 69 put Fleckman in the lead gain, the first time an amateur had led so late in the Championship since 1933 when John Goodman won.

Fleckman had 209, one stroke behind were Nicklaus, Palmer, and Bill Casper, Jr., the defending Champion. The Open soon developed into a duel between Nicklaus and Palmer, who played together. Fleckman scored 80 and finished in a tie for 18th place. Casper scored 72 and finished fourth. Palmer went ahead of Nicklaus briefly at the second hole but Nicklaus caught him with a birdie at the third and never was behind again.

Beginning with the third hole, Nicklaus birdied five of the next six, scored 31 on the front nine and was then four strokes ahead of Palmer. A bogey 5 on 10 and birdies on 13 and 14 left Nicklaus needing one more birdie to break the record. He came to the par-5 18th still needing that one birdie, drove off the fairway on the right, hit a bad recovery, then a magnificent 1-iron to the green, and holed a 21-foot putt for his 65 and 275.

Palmer became the first player to score less than 280 in the Open twice. The estimated attendance of 88,414 was the largest on record. The prize money was $169,400 in the Championship proper and $8,400 in Sectional Qualifying for a grand total of $177,800, an Open record. Entries reached a new high of 2,649.


Starts - 44

Best Finish - Winner 1962, '67, '72, & '80

Rds - 160

Cuts Made - 35

Top 3 - 9

Top 5 - 11

Top 10 - 18

Top 25 - 22

Avg. - 72.59

Scores In 60s - 29

Rds Under Par - 37

Earnings - $372,245.05
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    Historical Notes
    On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
    The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
    Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
    Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
    As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
    In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
    Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
    In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
    In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
    Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
    In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
    The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
    In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.