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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]

1961 U.S. Open
Tournament information
DatesJune 15–17, 1961
LocationBirmingham, Michigan
Course(s)Oakland Hills Country Club, South Course
Organized byUSGA
Tour(s)PGA Tour
Statistics
Par70
Length6,907 yards (6,316 m)[1][2]
Field149 players, 57 after cut
Cut149 (+9)
Prize fund$60,500[3]
Winner's share$14,000
Champion
United States Gene Littler
281 (+1)
← 1960
1962 →
Oakland Hills Country Club is located in the United States
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

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 fieldEdit

Made the cutEdit

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 cutEdit

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 summariesEdit

First roundEdit

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 roundEdit

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 roundEdit

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 roundEdit

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]

ReferencesEdit

  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. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. 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 linksEdit