On the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, Jack Nicklaus today (Sunday) won the?
On the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, Jack Nicklaus today (Sunday) won the British Open Golf title in an all-American play-off against Doug Sanders. In the match, which seemed a certainty for Nicklaus when he was lying four strokes up with five holes to go, Sanders made a remarkable comeback and the competition became a cliff-hanger to the final putt on the 18th green - where Nicklaus clinched the tournament with a Birdie 3 after over-shooting his drive into the rough beyond the green.
For Doug Sanders it was the second day of suspenseful agony. Yesterday (Saturday), he missed a three-foot putt on the 18th to tie in first place with Nicklaus with a five-under-par 283-had he holed out it would have been an outright win, but it was obvious that nerves played a great part in his near-miss.
Today, trailing four strokes behind on the 13th, Sanders pulled up to one-down to Nicklaus-scoring two consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th, while Nicklaus three-putted on the 16th green. Both players made par fours on the 17th, bringing them to the final hole with only one stroke between them. It was Sanders' honour, and he hit a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway to within a few feet of the green - and it was here that everyone expected Nicklaus to reaffirm his lead with a stronger drive onto the green. His powerful shot was indeed on the green-but its added impetus also carried it over into a small strip of rough on the far side, a very poor lie and difficult shot. Sanders approached with a 4-iron run-up to narrowly-miss the hole for an Eagle 2, lying just past the hole. The pressure was now on Nicklaus to get out of his bad lie for a good place to putt out in three and win. If he missed and Sanders holed-out, they would pull even and have to continue until one of the two won a hole outright. But, like a true Champion, Nicklaus made a perfect approach to within three fee of the hole and putted-out for a Birdie 3, winning with a 288-par.
The final was a repeat of the 1966 British Open which ended with Nicklaus defeating Sanders - but in not such an exciting last-minute contest.