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
Organized by USGA
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 $60,500[3]
Winner's share $14,000
Champion
United States Gene Littler
281 (+1)
Oakland Hills Country Club is located in the US
Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills Country Club
Location in the United States
Oakland Hills Country Club is located in Michigan
Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills Country Club
Location in Michigan

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 shot a final round 68 for 281 (+1) to win his sole major title, one stroke ahead of runners-up Bob Goalby and Doug Sanders, the 54-hole leader.[4][5][6]

Amateur Jack Nicklaus tied for fourth at age 21, the second of his three consecutive top-4 finishes at the U.S. Open. The runner-up the previous year, he turned professional in November and won the first of four U.S. Open titles the following year. Defending champion Arnold Palmer made the cut on the number at 149 (+9),[2][7] then shot even-par twice and climbed into a tie for 14th place, eight strokes behind Littler. Four-time champion Ben Hogan also tied for 14th, the only time since 1940 that he was outside the top ten at this major. This course was the site of his third title a decade earlier in 1951, a rare successful defense. Hogan did not enter for five years and made his final U.S. Open appearances in 1966 and 1967.

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.

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]

Round summaries[edit]

First round[edit]

Thursday, June 15, 1961

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Bobby Brue  United States 69 −1
T2 Tommy Bolt  United States 70 Even
Bob Goalby  United States
T4 Rex Baxter  United States 71 +1
Bruce Crampton  Australia
Marty Furgol  United States
Al Geiberger  United States
Paul Harney  United States
Ben Hogan  United States
Kel Nagle  Australia

Source:[8][9]

Second round[edit]

Friday, June 16, 1961

Place Player Country Score To par
T1 Bob Rosburg  United States 72-67=139 −1
Doug Sanders  United States 72-67=139
T3 Bobby Brue  United States 69-72=141 +1
Gardner Dickinson  United States 72-69=141
Doug Ford  United States 72-69=141
Al Geiberger  United States 71-70=141
Gene Littler  United States 73-68=141
Eric Monti  United States 74-67=141
T9 Bruce Crampton  Australia 71-71=142 +2
Bob Goalby  United States 70-72=141
Kel Nagle  Australia 71-71=141
Bob Harris  United States 75-67=141

Source:[2][7]

Third round[edit]

Saturday, June 17, 1961   (morning)

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Doug Sanders  United States 72-67-71=210 Even
T2 Jacky Cupit  United States 72-72-67=211 +1
Bob Goalby  United States 70-72-69=211
Mike Souchak  United States 73-70-68=211
T5 Gardner Dickinson  United States 72-69-71=212 +2
Doug Ford  United States 72-69-71=212
T7 Gene Littler  United States 73-68-72=213 +3
Eric Monti  United States 74-67-72=213
Bob Rosburg  United States 72-67-74=213
T10 Bobby Brue  United States 69-72-73=214 +4
Dow Finsterwald  United States 72-71-71=214
Al Geiberger  United States 71-70-73=214
Jack Nicklaus (a)  United States 75-69-70=214
(a) denotes amateur

Source:[4][5]

Final round[edit]

Saturday, June 17, 1961   (afternoon)

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. (He later missed a short putt to win The Open Championship in 1970.) Littler was the only player to break par twice.[5][6]

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][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Palmer, Player top Open field". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 15, 1961. p. 7-part 2. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Open lead's shared by Rosburg, Sanders". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 17, 1961. p. 8. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Open history: 1961". USGA. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Bartlett, Charles (June 18, 1961). "Gene Littler takes Open with 281". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, sec. 2. 
  5. ^ a b c d Weiss, Don (June 18, 1961). "Gene Littler charges to U.S. Open victory". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. 
  6. ^ a b Wright, Alfred (June 26, 1961). "Littler eases to a hard win". Sports Illustrated. p. 10. 
  7. ^ a b Bartlett, Charles (June 17, 1961). "Sanders ties Rosburg in U.S. Open". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, sec. 5. 
  8. ^ ""Little Boy Brue's" putter true; leads Open after scrambling 69". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 16, 1961. p. 16. 
  9. ^ Bartlett, Charles (June 16, 1961). "Bobby Brue takes Open lead". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, sec. 4. 

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