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Hale Irwin

Hale Irwin, 34, of Frontenac, Missouri became the 14th player to win the Open Championship more than once. Irwin won with a score of 284 for 72 holes, even par, at Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio. Two strokes behind, at 286 were Gary Player and Jerry Pate, two former Open Champions. Irwin had rounds of 74-68-67-75. Five players shared the first round lead with 70, one under par. They were Lou Graham, 1975 Open Champion, Andy Bean, Tom Purtzer, Keith Fergus, and Lon Hinkle. At 71 were Pate, Jim Colbert, Larry Nelson, Dana Quigley, Bill Rogers, Tom Weiskopf, and Amateur Champion John Cook.

After 36 holes, Nelson and Purtzer, with second-round scores of 68 and 69 respectively, shared the lead at 139. Irwin began the second round by holing birdie putts of 15 and 12 feet on the first two holes. He added birdies on the 10th, 11th, and 12th holes to go five under par for the day, but he lost strokes at both the 16th and 17th holes and finished with 68, three strokes behind the leader at 142.

In the third round, Irwin took the lead when he shot 67, giving him a 54-hole score of 209,three strokes ahead of the field. Weiskopf, who had 74 in the second round, came back with a 67 and moved into second place with a 212 score. Tied for third place at 214 were Purtzer, who dropped back with 75, and Pate who moved into contention with 69. Irwin had built his lead to four strokes over Weiskopf through 12 holes of the third round. On the 13th hole, a par 5, Weiskopf played a 4-iron second shot just eight feet from the hole and scored an eagle 3. Irwin, playing directly behind him, then played a 2-iron shot that came to rest just three feet from the hole. He matched Weiskopf's eagle.

In the last round, Pate and Purtzer, playing together in the next to last group, made early runs at the lead, but eventually fell out of contention. Irwin, paired with Weiskopf in the final group, played the first nine in 35. On the second nine he drove into the rough four times but, after 16 holes, he was five strokes ahead of both Weiskopf and Player. On the 17th hole, he hit his second shot into a greenside bunker, played his bunker shot over the back of the green, chipped back to 12 feet and two-putted for a double-bogey 6.

Weiskopf bogeyed the 17th hole to pick up only one stroke. With one hole to play, Irwin led Player, who had finished with a 68, and Pate by three strokes and Weiskopf by four. Both Player and Pate had birdied the 18th hole. Irwin pushed his tee shot into the right rough and then pulled his approach into the left greenside bunker. He played a fine bunker shot to within six feet of the hole and two-putted for a bogey 5 to win the Championship.

Sixty professionals and three amateurs made the 36-hole cut at 151, nine over par. Fred Couples was the low amateur with a 302 total. Prize money reached a record $330,4000 with $315,400 awarded in the Championship proper and $15,000 in the Sectional Qualifying Championships. The 4,853 entries were short of the record of 4,897 for the 1978 Open Championship.


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
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T2DAY, J.+1F+3
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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.