Blast from the past: Player completes Grand Slam to join the golfing greats

20 June 2021 - 18:17 By david isaacson

Today in SA sports history: June 21

1965 — Gary Player wins his one and only US Open title, which earns him a career Grand Slam after his victories at the 1959 Open, 1961 Masters and 1962 PGA Championship. But it’s a nail-biting affair at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri, which is forced into a play-off on the fifth day. A non-American was destined to win the US Open for the first time since 1920, after Player, the second- and third-round leader, ended tied for the lead on two-over-par 282 alongside Australian Ken Nagle, the first-round leader. With three holes to play the South African had been  leading by three shots, but then he carded a double bogey on the par-three 16th, while Nagle birdied the par-five 17th to draw level. Both men missed birdie putts on the 18th. Player won the 18-hole play-off convincingly, taking a one-stroke lead on the first hole, extending it to three after five, and then to five by the eighth. He finished on one over par to win by three shots. Player was the first non-American and only the fourth golfer to achieve a career Grand Slam, after Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan. Jack Nicklaus would achieve the first of his three career Grand Slams the following year. The closest Player came to winning this event a second time was 1979, when he finished tied for second spot two shots off the pace...

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