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Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus, 40 of Dublin, Ohio, won his fourth Open Championship shooting a record score of 272, eight under par, over the Lower Course of the Baltusrol Golf Club, in Springfield, New Jersey. Nicklaus joined Willie Anderson, Bob Jones, and Ben Hogan as the only men to win the Open four times. In setting his record score, Nicklaus was three strokes under the previous record of 275 that he set in 1967 over the same course.

Nicklaus also joined Julius Boros, Hogan, and Ted Ray as the only golfers to win the Open after they passed 40. In posting rounds of 63-71-70-68-272, Nicklaus either led or was tied for the lead throughout. He finished two strokes ahead of Isao Aoki of Japan with whom he played all four days. Aoki's 274 total thus became the second lowest 72-hole score in Open history, Keith Fergus, Lon Hinkle, and Tom Watson tied for third place at 276, the only other players to break par for the 72 holes. Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf shared the first round lead with scores of eight-under-par 63.

These were the lowest scores in the Open since John Miller's final round 63 in the 1973 Open at Oakmont. Nicklaus had a chance to break the record and score 62, but he missed a three-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole. Three players - Fergus, Hinkle, and Mark Hayes - shot 66,three others had 67 and, altogether, 19 players broke par 70, a record for the first round. The low scoring was due, in part, to early week rainstorms, which softened Baltusrol's true and very fast greens.

When the Championship was over, 51 rounds were played under par, the most ever. In the second round, Nicklaus held on for 71, despite losing four strokes to par in mid-round. His 36-hole total of 134, another Open record, gave him a two-stroke lead over Aoki, Fergus, Hinkle, and Mike Reid. Aoki shot a second straight 68 for 136 and had only 23 putts for the round, including just 10 on the second nine. In his first round he had 27 putts.

After 54 holes, Nicklaus and Aoki were tied for the lead at 204, another Open record. Hinkle was third at 205, followed by Watson, Hayes and Fergus at 206. Hubert Green had 65, which included eight consecutive 3s from the ninth hole through the sixteenth. He had two 3s earlier in the round, ten for the day.

In the final round, Nicklaus went ahead by one stroke when Aoki made a bogey 5 at the second hole. Nicklaus birdied the par-4 third hole from five feet to go two strokes ahead. Aoki birdied the eighth hole to cut his deficit to one stroke, but he bogeyed the ninth as Nicklaus made par, and never again was he closer than two strokes. As they stood on the 17th tee, they remained two strokes apart. Both men birdied the 17th, Nicklaus from 20 feet, Aoki from five feet. Aoki's pitch shot to the 18th, another par 5, almost went into the hole, but once again both men birdied.

Nicklaus had a final round 68 to Aoki's 70. Sixty-one professionals and two amateurs made the 36-hole cut at 146, four over par, the lowest cut in Open history. Gary Hallberg was the low amateur with a 285tootal. Arnold Palmer competed in his 28th consecutive Open dating back to 1953.

Prize money reached a record $356,700 with $341,700 awarded in the Championship proper and $15,000 I the Sectional Qualifying Championships. The 4,812 entries were short of the record of 4,897 for the 1978 Open Championship. More than 102,000 spectators attended, the second largest number in Open history.


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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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.