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Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino, 31, defeated Jack Nicklaus, 31, in a playoff at the Merion Golf Club, Armore, Pennsylvania. Both players had scored 280 for the 72 holes and Trevino scored 68 in the playoff against a 71 by Nicklaus. Nicklaus twice left shots in bunkers - once on the second hole, again on the third, to allow Trevino to take a two-stroke lead.

Nicklaus never was able to catch Trevino, although several times he narrowed the margin to one stroke. Trevino had rounds of 70-72-69-69-280 and Nicklaus scored 69-72-68-71-280. Both had chances to win outright on the 72nd hole but they both missed putts. Trevino was ready to stroke a six-foot putt for a par 4 and 279 when a spectator fell from a bulletin board causing a distracting noise. Trevino backed away, and then missed the putt. Nicklaus had a 14-foot putt for a birdie on the final hole and barely missed.

James B. Simons, a 21-year-old amateur from Butler, Pennsylvania needed a birdie on the last hole to tie Nicklaus and Trevino, but he drove into the rough, gambled on reaching the green with a wood, and failed. He made 6 and finished in a tie for fifth with 283. Robert R. Rosburg of French Lick, Indiana three-putted the 72nd and tied for third with James J. Colbert, Jr., of Prairie Creek, Arkansas at 282. Labron Harris, Jr., Stillwater, Oklahoma, shot 67 and led the first round. Bob Erickson of Sanford, Florida and Colbert shared the second round lead at 138.

Simons shot 65 in the third round, one stroke above the Open's single round record set initially at Merion in 1950, and took the 54-hole lead with 297, two strokes ahead of Nicklaus, who was in second place. Simons still led after nine holes of the final round, but made a 5 on the par 4 10th to fall into a tie with Nicklaus and then Trevino played a great 8-iron 15 inches from the hole on the 12th and made a birdie and forced a three-way tie.

Trevio went ahead with a birdie on the 14th and held the lead until he made 5 on the par 4 18th,setting up the playoff. For the sixth time in nine years the defending Champion failed to survive the 36-hole cutoff. Tony Jacklin shot 152 and was eliminated.

The entry was 4,279, the largest for any USGA Championship ever. Prize money totaled $200,000 with $192,200 awarded to professionals in the Championship proper and another $7,800 in Sectional Qualifying Championships. This was the 13th USGA event held at Merion. No other Club had been host to so many.


Starts - 23

Best Finish - Winner 1968

& 1971

Rds - 77

Cuts Made - 15

Top 3 - 2

Top 5 - 6

Top 10 - 8

Top 25 - 11

Avg. - 72.74

Scores In 60s - 12

Rds Under Par - 17

Earnings -$149,034.18
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.