1959 U.S. Open Winner and Scores

The 1959 U.S. Open was the 59th time the tournament was played, and a future Hall of Famer claimed his first major trophy, helped by a famous bit of course management.

Winner: Billy Casper, 282

Where it was played: Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York

Tournament dates: June 11-14, 1959

Leader after first round: Ben Hogan, Gene Littler, Dick Knight and Dow Finsterwald, 69

Leader after second round: Billy Casper, 139

Leader after third round: Billy Casper, 208

What Happened at the 1959 U.S. Open

Have you heard the story of the time Billy Casper laid up on a par-3 hole all four days of a tournament? The 1959 U.S. Open was that tournament.

The hole was No. 3 on Winged Foot's West Course, the longest par-3 on the course then and now. In 1959, it played 216 yards for the pros. Not terrifically long for the period, but longish and to a heavily contoured green where keeping the ball below the hole is key.

Casper simply felt that the risk of bogey on the hole outweighed the possibility of birdie. So he decided to take bogey out of the equation. All four days of the 1959 U.S. Open, Casper laid up in front the green. Then, with his delicate short game, he chipped up to the green, leaving the ball below the hole, and made the uphill putt for par.

Casper's legendary putting prowess was on display all week. He had 31 1-putt greens, according to the USGA, and just one 3-putt for the week.

This was the first of Casper's three career wins in majors, the seventh of his 51 career PGA Tour wins, and the first of four wins in 1959 for him.

Casper led by three over Ben Hogan entering the final round, and by four over Bob Rosburg, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead. Rosburg was the only one of those who challenged, though, despite Casper's closing 74. Hogan shot 76 and finished tied for eighth.

Rosburg, who won the 1959 PGA Championship a month later, pulled even with Casper at one point on the back nine in the final round. But when he reached the 72nd green, Rosburg needed a birdie to force a playoff and didn't get it.

The 1959 U.S. Open was the first one played over four days, although not by design. Thirty-six holes were scheduled for the final day on Saturday, as was the norm at the time. But the Saturday afternoon 18 was washed out by rain, forcing a Sunday conclusion.

Young amateur Jack Nicklaus, age 19, opened with consecutive 77s and missed the cut. Masters and PGA Championship winner Henry Picard played the U.S. Open for the final time this year.

Another significant development that occurred at the 1959 U.S. Open: Charlie Sifford played and finished 32nd. Sifford, an African-American, was in the field two years before the PGA of America removed a Caucasians-only clause from its tournament bylaws. It was Sifford's first appearance in one of golf's majors.

1959 U.S. Open Scores

Billy Casper 71-68-69-74—282
Bob Rosburg 75-70-67-71—283
Claude Harmon 72-71-70-71—284
Mike Souchak 71-70-72-71—284
Doug Ford 72-69-72-73—286
Arnold Palmer 71-69-72-74—286
Ernie Vossler 72-70-72-72—286
Ben Hogan 69-71-71-76—287
Sam Snead 73-72-67-75—287
Dick Knight 69-75-73-73—290
Dow Finsterwald 69-73-75-74—291
Fred Hawkins 76-72-69-74—291
Ted Kroll 71-73-73-74—291
Gene Littler 69-74-75-73—291
Dave Marr 75-73-69-75—292
Gary Player 71-69-76-76—292
Gardner Dickinson 77-70-71-75—293
Jay Hebert 73-70-78-72—293
Jack Fleck 74-74-69-77—294
Mac Hunter 75-74-73-72—294
Don January 71-73-73-77—294
Cary Middlecoff 71-73-73-77—294
Johnny Pott 77-72-70-75—294
Bo Wininger 71-73-72-78—294
Joe Campbell 73-71-75-76—295
Chick Harbert 78-68-76-74—296
Billy Maxwell 75-75-70-76—296
Julius Boros 76-74-72-75—297
Lionel Hebert 71-74-70-82—297
Henry Ransom 72-77-71-77—297
Fred Wampler 74-73-75-75—297
Al Balding 72-74-75-78—299
a-James English 74-75-77-73—299
Charlie Sifford 78-72-73-76—299
Tommy Jacobs 76-71-76-77—300
Shelley Mayfield 75-74-73-78—300
Ewing Pomeroy 72-72-76-80—300
Tommy Bolt 75-73-77-76—301
a-Charles Coe 72-78-75-76—301
Vic Ghezzi 75-71-78-77—301
Bob Goalby 73-76-74-78—301
Ken Venturi 78-69-76-78—301
Wes Ellis 77-70-76-79—302
Don Fairfield 71-78-73-80—302
Jimmy Johnson 76-74-75-77—302
a-Robert Batdorff 73-73-78-79—303
Darrell Hickok 76-72-73-82—303
Alfred Smith 75-75-75-78—303
a-Don Cherry 75-75-79-75—304
Stan Dudas 75-73-75-81—304
Rex Baxter 75-72-78-80—305
Paul Harney 74-76-76-79—305
Charles Scally 80-70-76-79—305
a-Dick Chapman 76-74-75-82—307
Otto Greiner 77-71-78-83—309
a-Cobby Ware 73-75-83-80—311

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