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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 296
Carnoustie in 1953 it was Ben Hogan the victor in his one and only Open Championship. Hogan claimed the jug by four strokes from four players, including a young Peter Thomson, after shooting a course record 68 in the final round. The headlines read THOMSON UNLUCKY, HOGAN BEST, after Thomson finished runner up for the second consecutive year having lost by a stroke to Bobby Locke in 1952. One of Australia’s greats Norman Von Nida was quick to tell the press at the time: “One day he (Thomson) will not only be the best in Australia, but also tops in the world.” Of course, Thomson won the first of his five Open Championships the following year at Royal Birkdale and would ultimately fulfill Von Nida’s prophetic claim. As Von Nida played mentor to Thomson, Thomson played adviser to a young Bruce Devlin, who had his chances at Carnoustie in 1968 but eventually finished T10, some eight strokes behind South African Gary Player. When the Open returned in 1975, a new wave of young Australians were making their way onto the world stage. One of those players was Jack Newton and has been closer than any other Aussie to hoisting the Claret Jug at Carnoustie. Newton had a 20-foot putt on the 72nd hole to win but missed and he tied Tom Watson. The pair returned the following day for an 18-hole play-off and it was the American who prevailed 71-72, with Newton bogeying the final hole when he bunkered his approach and failed to get up-and-down. It was another 24 years before the Open was contested at Carnoustie and it would become one of the most controversial championships in its history. The 1999 Open will be best remembered for the farcical set-up of the course with thick knee high rough, narrow fairways and wind causing havoc for four days. Queensland’s Rod Pampling set the standard on the opening day with a 71 but a second round 86 saw him miss the cut. Six Aussies did make the cut with Craig Parry and Greg Norman getting into the thick of the action on the final day. Norman’s Sunday 72 saw him creep up the leaderboard, which was headed by Parry at various stages during the afternoon. a double and triple-bogey on Sunday never ends well but a holed bunker shot on the 72 hole saw him finish on 291 and a single shot out of the three- man play-off that was the result of Jean Van de Velde’s final hole meltdown. As the three-man four-hole play-off unfolded outside, a red-eyed and emotional Parry told reporters: “Don’t feel for me. I finished fourth in the Open. Next time maybe I’ll finish it off.” Sadly, it would be Parry’s best finish out of his 18 Open appearances. COVER STORY SUBSCRIBE TODAY valued at $998 each! for your chance to WIN 1 of 4 Victa 82V prize packs
GA Express 295
GA Express 297