When Curtis Stange Won The US Open at Brookline
CURTIS STRANGE had twice won the money list on the PGA Tour but he had also thrown away a golden chance of victory at The Masters in 1985 and had earned the unwanted tag of being the best player never to have won a major.
That all changed at the 1988 US Open at Brookline when he defeated Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff. He would also go on to successfully defend the title at Shinnecock Hills 12 months later.
Strange took the 54-hole lead after a third-round 69, while Faldo was a stroke behind after a 68.
Strange and Faldo battled back-and-forth during the final round. Strange three-putted from 15 feet on the 17th green to fall into a tie with the Englishman, and then saved par from a greenside bunker on the 18th to force a Monday playof.
In the playoff, Strange carried a one-stroke lead to the turn after birdies at the 4th and 7th holes.
When Faldo bogeyed the 11th, the lead went to two, but Strange bogeyed the next hole to return it to one. Strange rebounded with a birdie on 13 and took a three-shot lead when Faldo bogeyed. Faldo bogeyed three of his last four holes to card a 75, while Strange finished with an even-par 71 and a four-stroke victory.
This was the third U.S. Open at The Country Club and all ended in playoffs. Julius Boros, age 43, defeated Arnold Palmer and Jack Cupit in 1963 and 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet prevailed over legendary Britons Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in 1913.
Strange successfully defended his title in 1989, the first man to win consecutive U.S. Opens since Ben Hogan in 1950 and 1951. Brooks Koepka became the first player since Strange to defend his title by winning the US Open at Erin Hills in 2017 and Shinnecock Hills in 2018.
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