Arnold Palmer At The 1961 British Open Picture
I’m in an Open Championship mood and I fouund this great framed photo of Arnold at the 1961 British Open. Played at Royal Birkdale, it was the first of Palmer’s two Open Championship victories.
In 1961, Palmer was playing in just his second Open Championship and it was significant because at that time, many Amerian pros had decided that making the trip to the Isles just wasn’t worth their time.
The Open Championship started relatively well for Palmer. With a 70, he was just two shots behind leaders Harold Henning, Dai Rees and defending champion Kel Nagle. That tied him for third with five others. Palmer continued his steady play in the second round, too, scoring a 73 in spite of high winds that eventually forced the cancellation of the next day’s rounds.
When play resumed on Saturday, Palmer shot a 73, in spite of taking a seven on the 16th. That was still good enough to move him into a tie for second with Nagle. The day’s scoring was led by Peter Thompson, who had a 72.
The third round saw Palmer card an impressive 69. That put him in first place—one ahead of Dai Rees. Rees shot a 71—even after taking a seven on the first hole. The round of the day, though, belonged to Christy O’Connor, who shot a 67, putting himself into third.
At the start of the final round, it was a four way race between Palmer, Rees, Nagle and O’Connor. Nagle and O’Connor were out of it by the ninth, though. Palmer, playing ahead of Rees, came in with a 72. Rees, though four strokes back at the 14th, managed to close within one, taking second.
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