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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]

Mike Souchak
Mikesouchak.jpg
Personal information
Full nameMichael Souchak
Born(1927-05-10)May 10, 1927
Berwick, Pennsylvania
DiedJuly 10, 2008(2008-07-10) (aged 81)
Belleair, Florida
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight215 lb (98 kg; 15.4 st)
Nationality United States
SpouseNancy Souchak
Children3 sons, 1 daughter
Career
CollegeDuke University
Turned professional1952
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins18
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour15
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT4: 1955
PGA ChampionshipT5: 1959
U.S. OpenT3: 1959, 1960
The Open ChampionshipT8: 1956
Achievements and awards
Duke Sports Hall of Fame1976

Contents

Early yearsEdit

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-setterEdit

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, and then lowered by Jim Furyk's 58 in 2016. 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). Justin Thomas lowered the mark again in 2017 when he shot 253 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.[6]

Souchak's 15 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.[7]

Near misses in majorsEdit

Souchak had eleven top-10 finishes at major championships, including third-place finishes at the U.S. Open in 1959 and 1960.[8] 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 (which was played on the same day as the fourth 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 winsEdit

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   Fred Haas
2 Feb 27, 1955 Houston Open 70-71-67-65=273 −15 2 strokes   Jerry Barber
3 Jan 22, 1956 Agua Caliente Open 65-71-74-71=281 −7 2 strokes   Tommy Bolt
4 Apr 1, 1956 Azalea Open Invitational 70-70-65-68=273 −15 1 stroke   Dick Mayer
5 May 6, 1956 Colonial National Invitation 74-72-65-69=280 Even 1 stroke   Tommy Bolt
6 Aug 26, 1956 St. Paul Open 70-69-70-62=271 −17 1 stroke   Sam Snead
7 Aug 17, 1958 St. Paul Open Invitational 66-64-68-65=263 −25 4 strokes   Julius Boros,   Sam Snead
8 Apr 26, 1959 Tournament of Champions 66-70-68-77=281 −7 2 strokes   Art Wall, Jr.
9 Jul 12, 1959 Western Open 67-67-73-65=272 −8 1 stroke   Arnold Palmer
10 Aug 16, 1959 Motor City Open 69-63-67-69=268 −16 9 strokes   Billy Casper,   Doug Ford
11 Jan 31, 1960 San Diego Open Invitational 67-68-67-67=269 −19 1 stroke   Johnny Pott
12 Jul 4, 1960 Buick Open Invitational 71-68-74-69=282 −6 1 stroke   Gay Brewer,   Art Wall, Jr.
13 Apr 16, 1961 Greater Greensboro Open 70-68-69-69=276 −8 7 strokes   Sam Snead
14 Apr 19, 1964 Houston Classic 71-69-68-70=278 −6 1 stroke   Jack Nicklaus
15 May 24, 1964 Memphis Open Invitational 69-65-67-69=270 −10 1 stroke   Billy Casper,   Tommy Jacobs

PGA Tour playoff record (0–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1955 Thunderbird Invitational   Fred Haas,   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   Jimmy Demaret,   Ken Venturi Demaret wins 18-hole playoff (Demaret:67, Souchak:75, Venturi:76)
3 1963 Hot Springs Open   Dave Hill Lost to par on second extra hole

Other winsEdit

This list is probably incomplete

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T4 T17 CUT T14 T25
U.S. Open CUT CUT T10 T29 CUT CUT T3
The Open Championship T8
PGA Championship R16 T8 T5
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T16 T28 T5 T11 T9 T35 T33
U.S. Open T3 T4 T14 T32 CUT CUT T42
The Open Championship
PGA Championship T12 T45 T39 T23 T13 T15 CUT T20 CUT T59
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship T29
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play

SummaryEdit

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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ "Thomas Wins Sony Open, Sets PGA Tour's 72-Hole Scoring Record". Golf.com. Associated Press. January 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Crosby tournament". Sports Illustrated. January 16, 1956. p. 12.
  8. ^ "Longtime PGA Tour scoring record-holder Souchak dies at 81". PGA Tour. July 10, 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2013.

External linksEdit