The 15 best U.S. Opens, ranked | Golf World

Sixty years ago is when the past, present, and future collided in the national championship. Mike Souchak actually led heading into the final round, with Nicklaus, a 20-year-old amateur, and Hogan, a 48-year-old legend, three shots behind, and reigning Masters champ Arnold Palmer seven shots adrift. Despite the long odds, it came down to the three greats. Palmer had a conversation with sports writer Bob Drum before his final round, and asked Drum if 280 might win the whole thing. Drum said no—Palmer was too far behind—but Palmer went out and birdied six of the first seven holes, and suddenly found himself in the thick of contention. Nicklaus actually held the lead at the turn, but missed a 20-inch putt at 13 and three-putted 14 to slip backward. Hogan hit the first 34 greens in regulation that day (the third and fourth round were played on the same day), but spun a wedge on 17 into the water and failed to save par before driving into the water on 18. That left it to Palmer, who closed with a par on 18 and tossed his red visor high in the air in celebration. You’d be hard-pressed to find any major, ever, that featured three legends of this caliber dueling on Sunday.

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