Mike Souchak

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Mike Souchak
— Golfer —
Mikesouchak.jpg
Personal information
Full name Michael Souchak
Born (1927-05-10)May 10, 1927
Berwick, Pennsylvania
Died July 10, 2008(2008-07-10) (aged 81)
Belleair, Florida
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15.4 st)
Nationality  United States
Spouse Nancy Souchak
Children 3 sons, 1 daughter
Career
College Duke University
Turned professional 1952
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins 18
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 15
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament T4: 1955
U.S. Open T3: 1959, 1960
The Open Championship T8: 1956
PGA Championship T5: 1959
Achievements and awards
Duke Sports Hall of Fame 1976

Michael Souchak (May 10, 1927 – July 10, 2008) was an American professional golfer who won fifteen events on the PGA Tour in the 1950s and 1960s, and played for the Ryder Cup teams in 1959 and 1961.[1][2][3]

Early years[edit]

Born and raised in Berwick, Pennsylvania,[1] Souchak served two years as a gunner in the U.S. Navy.[4] He then attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he played both golf and football, as an end and placekicker.[2] He was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.[5]

Tour record-setter[edit]

In his first win at the 1955 Texas Open, Souchak set and tied several records. In the first round, he tied the tour's 18-hole record with a 60. This record was finally broken in 1977 by Al Geiberger's 59. This first round also included a record-breaking 27 on the back nine holes, a record that was tied by Andy North in 1975, Billy Mayfair in 2001 and Robert Gamez in 2004, and broken by Corey Pavin in 2006. He then finished with a 72-hole record of 257 (27-under-par). This record stood until 2001 when Mark Calcavecchia shot 256 at the Phoenix Open (this record was subsequently broken when Tommy Armour III shot 254 at the Valero Texas Open in 2003).

Souchak's fifteen PGA Tour wins came between 1955 and 1964, with his best year being 1956, when he won four times. He won three tour titles in 1959, and was on an early cover of Sports Illustrated in January 1956, for its preview of the Bing Crosby Pro-Am.[6]

Near misses in majors[edit]

Souchak had eleven top-10 finishes at major championships, including third-place finishes at the U.S. Open in 1959 and 1960.[7] Souchak led after 36 holes in 1960 with a new record score of 135, which was 7-under-par. But he struggled on the final hole of the third round, making a triple bogey, and couldn't regain his composure. Arnold Palmer, who had been seven strokes behind entering the final round, shot 65 to win the championship.

Souchak played on the Senior PGA Tour (now called the PGA Tour Champions) from its inception in 1980 until 1990. His best finish was second place in his very first tournament, the Atlantic City Senior International in 1980.

Souchak moved from North Carolina to Florida in 1970 and became the first head pro at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, and resided in Belleair with his wife Nancy. He had four children: sons Mike, Frank, and Chris Souchak and daughter Patti Taylor, as well as five grandchildren. He ran Golf Car Systems, a preventive maintenance firm,[4] with his partner Bill Dodd until his death from complications of a heart attack in 2008.

Professional wins[edit]

PGA Tour wins (15)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up
1 Feb 20, 1955 Texas Open 60-68-64-65=257 −27 7 strokes United States Fred Haas
2 Feb 27, 1955 Houston Open 70-71-67-65=273 −15 2 strokes United States Jerry Barber
3 Jan 22, 1956 Agua Caliente Open 65-71-74-71=281 −7 2 strokes United States Tommy Bolt
4 Apr 1, 1956 Azalea Open Invitational 70-70-65-68=273 −15 1 stroke United States Dick Mayer
5 May 6, 1956 Colonial National Invitation 74-72-65-69=280 Even 1 stroke United States Tommy Bolt
6 Aug 26, 1956 St. Paul Open 70-69-70-62=271 −17 1 stroke United States Sam Snead
7 Aug 17, 1958 St. Paul Open Invitational 66-64-68-65=263 −25 4 strokes United States Julius Boros, United States Sam Snead
8 Apr 26, 1959 Tournament of Champions 66-70-68-77=281 −7 2 strokes United States Art Wall, Jr.
9 Jul 12, 1959 Western Open 67-67-73-65=272 −8 1 stroke United States Arnold Palmer
10 Aug 16, 1959 Motor City Open 69-63-67-69=268 −16 9 strokes United States Billy Casper, United States Doug Ford
11 Jan 31, 1960 San Diego Open Invitational 67-68-67-67=269 −19 1 stroke United States Johnny Pott
12 Jul 4, 1960 Buick Open Invitational 71-68-74-69=282 −6 1 stroke United States Gay Brewer, United States Art Wall, Jr.
13 Apr 16, 1961 Greater Greensboro Open 70-68-69-69=276 −8 7 strokes United States Sam Snead
14 Apr 19, 1964 Houston Classic 71-69-68-70=278 −6 1 stroke United States Jack Nicklaus
15 May 24, 1964 Memphis Open Invitational 69-65-67-69=270 −10 1 stroke United States Billy Casper, United States Tommy Jacobs

PGA Tour playoff record (0–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1955 Thunderbird Invitational United States Fred Haas, United States Shelley Mayfield Mayfield won with birdie on second extra hole after 18-hole playoff
Haas eliminated in 18-hole playoff (Mayfield:69, Souchak:69, Haas:70)
2 1957 Thunderbird Invitational United States Jimmy Demaret, United States Ken Venturi Demaret wins 18-hole playoff (Demaret:67, Souchak:75, Venturi:76)
3 1963 Hot Springs Open United States Dave Hill Lost to par on second extra hole

Other wins[edit]

This list is probably incomplete

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament DNP DNP T4 T17 CUT T14 T25
U.S. Open CUT CUT T10 T29 CUT CUT T3
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP T8 DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP R16 T8 T5
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T16 T28 T5 T11 T9 T35 T33 DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open T3 T4 T14 T32 DNP CUT CUT DNP DNP T42
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship T12 T45 T39 T23 T13 T15 CUT T20 CUT T59
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
PGA Championship DNP DNP T29 DNP DNP DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
Yellow background for top-10

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 2 3 8 12 11
U.S. Open 0 0 2 3 4 5 16 8
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 1
PGA Championship 0 0 0 1 3 8 14 12
Totals 0 0 2 6 11 22 44 32
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 19 (1958 PGA – 1965 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (twice)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Grimsley, Will (June 18, 1976). "Realist Mike Souchak doesn't miss big time". Shenectady Gazette. (New York)). Associated Press. p. 31. 
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (July 13, 2008). "Mike Souchak dies at 81". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). (New York Times). p. C6. 
  3. ^ Fields, Bill (July 10, 2008). "Mike Souchak, 1927–2008". Golf Digest. Retrieved August 9, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b O'Keefe, John (September 23, 2002). "Mike Souchak, golfer". Sports Illustrated. p. 10. 
  5. ^ "Duke Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Crosby tournament". Sports Illustrated. January 16, 1956. p. 12. 
  7. ^ "Longtime PGA Tour scoring record-holder Souchak dies at 81". PGA Tour. July 10, 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]