PEBBLE BEACH – The 119th US Open Golf Championship tees off at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday. AFP looks at the five prior editions of the US championship held at the iconic course on the California coast:
Jack Nicklaus won the third of his four US Open titles at Pebble Beach when it hosted the championship for the first time.
Nicklaus’s 72-hole score of two-over 290 gave him a three-shot victory over Bruce Crampton, with Arnold Palmer a further stroke back.
Nicklaus, who had won the Masters that April, faced an eight-foot bogey putt at the 12th hole just as Palmer had a 10-footer for birdie at 14. Nicklaus salvaged his bogey, Palmer missed his birdie and Nicklaus kept his one-shot lead. The Golden Bear led or shared the lead throughout the tournament, gained a four-stroke cushion at the par-three 17th, where his one-iron off the tee hit the flagstick and he tapped in for birdie.
The 17th hole was pivotal in Tom Watson’s triumph. Jack Nicklaus had pulled level with Watson with a birdie at 15 when Watson used a sand wedge to chip in from ankle-deep greenside rough at the par-three 17th.
Watson drained a 20-foot birdie putt at 18 to finish with a six-under total of 282, two strokes ahead of Nicklaus – who parred the last three holes.
Tom Kite shot an even-par 72 on a cold blustery final day on which winds gusted up to 40 mph (64 Km/h).
His three-under-par total of 285 gave him a two-shot triumph over Jeff Sluman.
Only five players broke par in the final round and 20 failed to break 80.
Journeyman Gil Morgan was the surprise pace-setter in the opening two rounds, carding a 66-69 for the 36-hole lead.
He became the first player to reach double-digits under par at a US Open when he dipped as low as 12-under n the third round, but he fell back with a 77 and eventually finished 13th.
The 2000 US Open turned into a testament to Tiger Woods’ greatness.
The US superstar’s 12-under-par total of 272 was all the more astonishing considering he was the only player under par at all for the week.
His 15-stroke victory over Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez remains a record margin for any major championship.
Woods led by one stroke after a bogey-free first-round 65, by six after the fog-delayed second round and by 10 after the third.
As Woods – who had won the PGA Tour’s National Pro-am at Pebble earlier that year – captured the first of his three US Open titles, four-time champion Jack Nicklaus bid farewell to the tournament, making his 44th and final appearance in the event.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell ended a 40-year European drought in the US Open with his one-shot victory over France’s Gregory Havret.
McDowell became the first European since England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970 to lift the US Open title and the first golfer from Northern Ireland to win a US Golf Association championship.
His three-over-par 74 in the final round gave McDowell an even-par total of 284. He overtook 54-hole leader Dustin Johnson, who collapsed with a final round 82. Havret, who came through sectional qualifying, was unable to force a playoff, bogeying the 17th before missing a nine-foot birdie attempt at the 72nd hole.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)