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The 1981 U.S. Open was the 81st U.S. Open, held June 18–21 at the East Course of Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, a suburb northwest of Philadelphia. David Graham won his second major title and became the first Australian to win the U.S. Open, three strokes ahead of runners-up George Burns and Bill Rogers.[1][2][3]

1981 U.S. Open
Tournament information
DatesJune 18–21, 1981
LocationArdmore, Pennsylvania
Course(s)Merion Golf Club
East Course
Organized byUSGA
Tour(s)PGA Tour
Statistics
Par70
Length6,544 yards (5,984 m)[1]
Field156 players, 70 after cut
Cut147 (+7)
Prize fund$361,730
Winner's share$55,000
Champion
Australia David Graham
273 (−7)
← 1980
1982 →
Merion GC is located in the United States
Merion GC
Merion GC
Location in the United States

After a first round 66, Jim Thorpe made history as the first African-American since 1896 to lead the U.S. Open.[4] Burns took a one-stroke lead over Graham with a 66 in the second round, then increased his lead to three strokes after 54 holes.

In the final round on Sunday, Graham shot one of the most precise rounds in U.S. Open history. He hit every green in regulation, missed just one fairway, and recorded four birdies, missing several other opportunities from within 10 feet (3 m). The only bogey was a three-putt at the fifth, after his approach shot stopped above the hole.[5] After a string of eight pars, Graham finally passed Burns with birdies at the 14th and 15th holes. Graham carded a 67 to Burns' 73 to win by three strokes. Rogers shot 69 to tie Burns for 2nd and won the British Open four weeks later.

This was the fourth U.S. Open played at Merion, all at its East Course. Previous editions were hosted in 1934, 1950, and 1971. At 6,544 yards (5,984 m),[1] the same length as 1971, it was the shortest U.S. Open course since 1947. With heavy rains softening the course before the tournament, 93 rounds of par 70 or better were recorded. Fifteen players were under par after 36 holes, but only five finished under par for the four rounds. Five more were at even par 280, including defending champion Jack Nicklaus, a four-time winner.

After 1981, the U.S. Open was not played at Merion until 2013.

Contents

Course layoutEdit

East Course

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Yards 355 535 183 600 426 420 350 360 195 3,424 312 370 405 129 414 378 430 224 458 3,120 6,544
Par 4 5 3 5 4 4 4 4 3 36 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 34 70

Source:[6]

Lengths of the course for previous U.S. Opens:

  • 1971: 6,544 yards (5,984 m), par 70
  • 1950: 6,694 yards (6,121 m), par 70
  • 1934: 6,694 yards (6,121 m), par 70

Past champions in the fieldEdit

Made the cutEdit

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total To par Finish
Jack Nicklaus   United States 1962, 1967,
1972, 1980
69 68 71 72 280 E T6
Johnny Miller   United States 1973 69 71 73 72 285 +5 T23
Gary Player   South Africa 1965 72 72 71 71 286 +6 T26
Jerry Pate   United States 1976 70 69 72 75 286 +6 T26
Hubert Green   United States 1977 69 76 71 72 288 +8 T37
Andy North   United States 1978 73 74 72 71 290 +10 T43
Hale Irwin   United States 1974, 1979 72 75 73 72 292 +12 T58

Missed the cutEdit

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 Total To par
Lee Trevino   United States 1968, 1971 72 76 148 +8
Lou Graham   United States 1975 76 74 150 +10
Arnold Palmer   United States 1960 77 78 155 +15

Round summariesEdit

First roundEdit

Thursday, June 18, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par
1 Jim Thorpe   United States 66 −4
2 J. C. Snead   United States 67 −3
T3 Bob Ackerman   United States 68 −2
John Cook   United States
David Graham   Australia
Jack Renner   United States
Chi-Chi Rodríguez   United States
T8 George Burns   United States 69 −1
Rex Caldwell   United States
Hubert Green   United States
Lon Hinkle   United States
Billy Kratzert   United States
Johnny Miller   United States
Jack Nicklaus   United States
Tommy Valentine   United States

Second roundEdit

Friday, June 19, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par
1 George Burns   United States 69-66=135 −5
2 David Graham   Australia 68-68=136 −4
T3 Jack Nicklaus   United States 69-68=137 −3
Tommy Valentine   United States 69-68=137
T5 John Cook   United States 68-70=138 −2
Billy Kratzert   United States 69-69=138
Greg Norman   Australia 71-67=138
Bill Rogers   United States 70-68=138
T9 Jerry Pate   United States 70-69=139 −1
Jack Renner   United States 68-71=139
John Schroeder   United States 71-68=139
Scott Simpson   United States 72-67=139
Jim Thorpe   United States 66-73=139
Lanny Wadkins   United States 71-68=139
Tom Watson   United States 70-69=139

Amateurs: Rassett (E), Norton (+8), Pavin (+9), DeFrancesco (+10), White (+10), Sindelar (+11), Faxon (+12), Lawrence (+14), Sanchez (+14), Moore (+15), Mudd (+15), Yokoi (+15), Biancalana (+16), Jones (+16), Ludwig (+16), Magee (+17), Hurter (+21), Brodie (+22).

Third roundEdit

Saturday, June 20, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par
1 George Burns   United States 69-66-68=203 −7
2 David Graham   Australia 68-68-70=206 −4
3 Bill Rogers   United States 70-68-69=207 −3
T4 Jack Nicklaus   United States 69-68-71=208 −2
Chi-Chi Rodríguez   United States 68-73-67=208
John Schroeder   United States 71-68-69=208
T7 John Cook   United States 68-70-71=209 −1
Ben Crenshaw   United States 70-75-64=209
Jim Thorpe   United States 66-73-70=209
Tommy Valentine   United States 69-68-72=209

Final roundEdit

Sunday, June 21, 1981

Place Player Country Score To par Money ($)
1 David Graham   Australia 68-68-70-67=273 −7 55,000
T2 George Burns   United States 69-66-68-73=276 −4 24,650
Bill Rogers   United States 70-68-69-69=276
T4 John Cook   United States 68-70-71-70=279 −1 16,200
John Schroeder   United States 71-68-69-71=279
T6 Frank Conner   United States 71-72-69-68=280 E 9,920
Lon Hinkle   United States 69-71-70-70=280
Jack Nicklaus   United States 69-68-71-72=280
Sammy Rachels   United States 70-71-69-70=280
Chi-Chi Rodríguez   United States 68-73-67-72=280

Amateur: Rassett (+14).

ScorecardEdit

Final round

Hole  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Par 4 5 3 5 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4
  Graham −5 −6 −6 −6 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −6 −7 −7 −7 −7
  Burns −7 −7 −7 −6 −6 −6 −6 −6 −6 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −5 −4 −5 −4
  Rogers −3 −3 −3 −3 −3 −2 −2 −3 −4 −3 −3 −4 −4 −4 −4 −3 −3 −4

Cumulative playoff scores, relative to par

Birdie Bogey

Source:[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Graham conquers Open crew". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 22, 1981. p. 17.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Dan (June 29, 1981). "Graham didn't crack". Sports Illustrated. p. 18.
  3. ^ Parascenzo, Marino (June 22, 1981). "Graham wins Open with 7-under". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 21.
  4. ^ Lieber, Jill (June 19, 1981). "Thorpe makes his name known with 66 in Open". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1-part 2.
  5. ^ Shedloski, Dave (May 14, 2013). "Looking Back...1981 U.S. Open at Merion". United States Golf Association. Archived from the original on July 24, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  6. ^ "Stat Sheet, Golf: U.S. Open yards and par". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 18, 1981. p. 28.
  7. ^ "Scoreboard: U.S. Open leader cards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 22, 1981. p. 26.

External linksEdit