1988 U.S. Open: Strange Over Faldo

The 1988 U.S. Open was the 88th time the tournament was played. The outcome was settled in an 18-hole playoff between Curtis Strange and Nick Faldo.

Winner: Curtis Strange, 278

Where it was played: The Country Club at Brookline, Massachussetts

Tournament dates: June 16-20, 1988

Leader after first round: Mike Nicolette, Sandy Lyle and Bob Gilder, 68

Leader after second round: Scott Simpson, 135

Leader after third round: Curtis Strange, 206

What Happened in the 1988 U.S. Open

The 1988 U.S. Open was a battle between Nick Faldo and Curtis Strange. Strange, one of the top PGA Tour players, was seeking his first major trophy. Faldo, already a major champion at the 1987 British Open, was playing in the U.S. Open for just the second time. Strange took the lead with a third-round 69, and Faldo moved up into second with a third-round 68.

In the final round, Strange shot 72 and Faldo 71, leaving the two tied atop the leaderboard. It appeared late that Strange might falter: He bogeyed the 17th hole to drop into a tie with Faldo. Then Strange hit into a bunker on the final hole, but he got up-and-down for par to preserve the tie.

So they returned to The Country Club composite course on Monday for an 18-hole playoff. Strange took a one-stroke lead after nine holes of the playoff, and improved that to a 3-shot lead after 13. The lead was two with four holes to play, but Faldo bogeyed three of those final four holes. In the end, Strange was the winner by four, 71 to 75.

Faldo went on to win five more majors, for six career major championship titles, but this was the closest he ever got to winning a U.S. Open. It was the 15th overall PGA Tour victory for Strange. He repeated as champion in the 1989 U.S. Open — the first back-to-back winner since Ben Hogan in 1950-51. After Strange, the next back-to-back U.S. Open winner didn't come until Brooks Koepka's wins in 2017-18.

Two-time U.S. Open winner Lee Trevino made the cut this year and finished tied for 40th. It was the last time Trevino made the cut in a U.S. Open. This was the third U.S. Open played at Brookline, at the previous two (1913 and 1963) also ended in playoffs.

1988 U.S. Open Final Scores

Playoff:
Curtis Strange, 71
Nick Faldo, 75

Curtis Strange 70-67-69-72—278
Nick Faldo 72-67-68-71—278
D.A. Weibring 71-69-68-72—280
Mark O'Meara 71-72-66-71—280
Steve Pate 72-69-72-67—280
Scott Simpson 69-66-72-74—281
Paul Azinger 69-70-76-66—281
Fuzzy Zoeller 73-72-71-66—282
Bob Gilder 68-69-70-75—282
Fred Couples 72-67-71-73—283
Payne Stewart 73-73-70-67—283
Andy Bean 71-71-72-70—284
Lanny Wadkins 70-71-70-73—284
Ben Crenshaw 71-72-74-67—284
Dan Pohl 74-72-69-69—284
Larry Mize 69-67-72-76—284
Hale Irwin 71-71-72-71—285
Mark McNulty 73-72-72-68—285
Raymond Floyd 73-72-73-67—285
Joey Sindelar 76-68-70-71—285
Scott Hoch 71-72-71-72—286
Chip Beck 73-72-71-70—286
Bob Eastwood 74-72-69-71—286
Peter Jacobsen 76-70-76-64—286
Craig Stadler 70-73-71-73—287
a-Billy Mayfair 71-72-71-73—287
Dave Barr 73-72-72-70—287
Jay Haas 73-67-74-73—287
Sandy Lyle 68-71-75-73—287
Mark Wiebe 75-70-73-69—287
Bob Tway 77-68-73-69—287
Mark McCumber 72-72-71-73—288
Seve Ballesteros 69-74-72-73—288
Tommy Nakajima 74-72-69-73—288
Ken Green 72-70-70-76—288
Tom Kite 72-69-73-75—289
David Ishii 73-73-75-68—289
Tom Watson 74-71-69-75—289
Mark Lye 75-71-71-72—289
Lee Trevino 73-73-73-71—290
Dan Halldorson 72-71-74-73—290
Nick Price 72-74-71-73—290
Danny Edwards 72-73-74-71—290
Chip Johnson 72-72-76-70—290
Clarence Rose 75-71-68-76—290
Mike Nicolette 68-73-77-72—290
Rodger Davis 73-73-71-74—291
David Graham 77-69-74-71—291
Kent Stauffer 72-72-78-69—291
Dick Mast 69-75-75-73—292
Buddy Gardner 72-73-75-72—292
Isao Aoki 71-74-71-76—292
John Cook 73-68-78-73—292
David Edwards 76-69-75-73—293
Roger Maltbie 75-71-74-74—294
Dennis Trixler 72-73-76-73—294
Kenny Perry 74-71-77-72—294
Jim Carter 74-72-70-78—294
Steve Bowman 71-72-75-77—295
Rob Wilkin 74-71-77-73—295
Jim Hallet 72-74-77-73—296
Mark Calcavecchia 74-69-78-76—297
Larry Nelson 78-67-80-72—297
Hal Sutton 74-72-75-77—298
Jerry Haas 73-73-73-80—299

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1987 U.S. Open - 1989 U.S. Open

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