1961 U.S. Open (golf)

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1961 U.S. Open
Tournament information
Dates June 15–17, 1961
Location Birmingham, Michigan
Course(s) Oakland Hills Country Club, South Course
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Statistics
Par 70
Length 6,907 yards (6,316 m)[1][2]
Field 149 players, 57 after cut
Cut 149 (+9)
Prize fund US$60,500[3]
Winner's share $14,000
Champion
United States Gene Littler
281 (+1)
Oakland Hills Country Club is located in United States
Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills Country Club
Location in the United States

The 1961 U.S. Open was the 61st U.S. Open, held June 15–17 at the South Course of Oakland Hills Country Club in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit. Gene Littler won his sole major title, one stroke ahead of runners-up Bob Goalby and Doug Sanders.

Amateur Jack Nicklaus finished tied for fourth, three strokes behind Littler, his second consecutive top-4 finish at the U.S. Open. He turned professional in November and won the first of four U.S. Open titles the following year. Four-time champion Ben Hogan finished in a tie for 14th place, eight strokes back, the only time since 1940 he placed outside the top ten at the U.S. Open. This was the site of his third title in 1951. He did not enter for five years and made his final U.S. Open appearances in 1966 and 1967. Defending champion Arnold Palmer was also tied for 14th.

The South Course previously hosted the U.S. Open in 1924, 1937, and 1951. It later hosted in 1985 and 1996, and the PGA Championship in 1972, 1979, and 2008.

Final round[edit]

At the start of the final round on Saturday afternoon, Littler was at 213 (+3), three strokes behind 54-hole leader Sanders. After a 34 on the front-nine, Littler tied the lead with a birdie at 11. With a birdie at 13 combined with a Sanders bogey at the same hole, Littler was two strokes ahead. Sanders rebounded with a birdie at 16 to move within one. As Littler and Sanders reached the 18th, Goalby had already posted a 282 total, two off the pace. Littler needed no worse than bogey to get in ahead of Goalby, and that is what he shot, recording his lone bogey of the round for a 68 and a 281 total. Sanders, meanwhile, narrowly missed a birdie putt at 17, then almost chipped in for birdie at the last that would have forced a Sunday playoff. Sanders' putter cost him the championship, as he three-putted five of the last 36 greens. Littler was the only player to break par twice.[4][5]

Past champions in the field[edit]

Made the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total To par Finish
Ben Hogan  United States 1948, 1950,
1951, 1953
71 72 73 73 289 +9 T14
Arnold Palmer  United States 1960 74 75 70 70 289 +9 T14
Billy Casper  United States 1959 74 71 73 72 290 +10 T17
Tommy Bolt  United States 1958 70 73 73 76 292 +12 T22
Jack Fleck  United States 1955 73 71 79 70 293 +13 T27
Dick Mayer  United States 1957 75 73 73 77 298 +18 T42

Missed the cut[edit]

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 Total To par
Julius Boros  United States 1952 74 76 150 +10
Cary Middlecoff  United States 1949, 1956 74 76 150 +10
Lew Worsham  United States 1947 75 75 150 +10
Ed Furgol  United States 1954 75 78 153 +13

Source:[2]

Final leaderboard[edit]

Saturday, June 17, 1961

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
1 Gene Littler  United States 73-68-72-68=281 +1 14,000
T2 Bob Goalby  United States 70-72-69-71=282 +2 6,000
Doug Sanders  United States 72-67-71-72=282
T4 Jack Nicklaus (a)  United States 75-69-70-70=284 +4 0
Mike Souchak  United States 73-70-68-73=284 4,000
T6 Dow Finsterwald  United States 72-71-71-72=286 +6 2,616
Doug Ford  United States 72-69-71-74=286
Eric Monti  United States 74-67-72-73=286
T9 Jacky Cupit  United States 72-72-67-76=287 +7 1,750
Gardner Dickinson  United States 72-69-71-75=287
Gary Player  South Africa 75-72-69-71=287
(a) denotes amateur

Source:[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Palmer, Player top Open field". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 15, 1961. p. 7-part 2. 
  2. ^ a b "Open lead's shared by Rosburg, Sanders". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 17, 1961. p. 8. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Open history: 1961". USGA. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Weiss, Don (June 18, 1961). "Gene Littler charges to U.S. Open victory". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. 
  5. ^ Wright, Alfred (June 26, 1961). "Littler eases to a hard win". Sports Illustrated: 10. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1961 Masters
Major Championships Succeeded by
1961 Open Championship

Coordinates: 42°32′38″N 83°16′37″W / 42.544°N 83.277°W / 42.544; -83.277