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.
|Full name||Michael Souchak|
|Born||May 10, 1927|
|Died||July 10, 2008 (aged 81)|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||215 lb (98 kg; 15.4 st)|
|Children||3 sons, 1 daughter|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||T4: 1955|
|PGA Championship||T5: 1959|
|U.S. Open||T3: 1959, 1960|
|The Open Championship||T8: 1956|
|Achievements and awards|
|Duke Sports Hall of Fame||1976|
Born and raised in Berwick, Pennsylvania, Souchak served two years as a gunner in the U.S. Navy. He then attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he played both golf and football, as an end and placekicker. He was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.
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.
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.
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. 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, with his partner Bill Dodd until his death from complications of a heart attack in 2008.
PGA Tour wins (15)Edit
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin
|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)
|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|
This list is probably incomplete
Results in major championshipsEdit
|The Open Championship||T8|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship||CUT|
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
|The Open Championship||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||1|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 19 (1958 PGA – 1965 Masters)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (twice)
- Grimsley, Will (June 18, 1976). "Realist Mike Souchak doesn't miss big time". Shenectady Gazette. (New York)). Associated Press. p. 31.
- Goldstein, Richard (July 13, 2008). "Mike Souchak dies at 81". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). (New York Times). p. C6.
- Fields, Bill (July 10, 2008). "Mike Souchak, 1927–2008". Golf Digest. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
- O'Keefe, John (September 23, 2002). "Mike Souchak, golfer". Sports Illustrated. p. 10.
- "Duke Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- "Thomas Wins Sony Open, Sets PGA Tour's 72-Hole Scoring Record". Golf.com. Associated Press. January 15, 2017.
- "The Crosby tournament". Sports Illustrated. January 16, 1956. p. 12.
- "Longtime PGA Tour scoring record-holder Souchak dies at 81". PGA Tour. July 10, 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2013.