1980 U.S. Open Winner and Scores

The 1980 U.S. Open was the 80th time the tournament was played, and Jack Nicklaus won it for the fourth time, sending up cries of "Jack is back!"

Winner: Jack Nicklaus, 272

Where it was played: Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course) in Springfield, New Jersey

Tournament dates: June 12-15, 1980

Leader after first round: Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, 63

Leader after second round: Jack Nicklaus, 134

Leader after third round: Jack Nicklaus and Isao Aoki, 204

What Happened at the 1980 U.S. Open

Jack Nicklaus began the tournament by tying the 18-hole major scoring record with a 63, and he ended it by establishing a new 72-hole U.S. Open record (since broken) of 272. In-between, he battled Japanese star Isao Aoki.

Nicklaus was coming off the first poor year of his pro career. In 1979, he went winless on the PGA Tour for the first time since his pro career started in 1962. He was 40 years old, and many fans and media members assumed he was washed up. Instead, not only did he win this tournament but another major later in the year, the 1980 PGA Championship.

Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf opened the tournament with scorching rounds of 63, becoming just the second and third golfers to shoot 63 in a U.S. Open. (Nicklaus had a chance at a 62, but missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th.) Weiskopf quickly fell away, however, failing to break 75 in his remaining rounds.

Nicklaus carded a 71 in Round 2 and took a two-stroke lead over, among others, Japan's Isao Aoki. Aoki was the best (at worst, the second-best behind Jumbo Ozaki) Japanese golfer of the time, and had Top 10 finishes in the 1978 and 1979 British Opens. His appearance in the 1980 U.S. Open was just his second in this event. But with back-to-back 68s, Aoki was on Nicklaus' trail. And Aoki caught Nicklaus in the third round, shooting 68 to Nicklaus' 70, tying them for the lead. That set up the final-round showdown between the two golfers grouped together.

In the final round, Aoki bogeyed the second hole and Nicklaus birdied the third, producing a two-stroke lead for Nicklaus. Aoki trimmed the lead to one, but by the back nine Nicklaus led by two again and maintained that margin throughout the back nine. Aoki birdied the final two holes, but so did Nicklaus, and the Golden Bear won by two strokes.

For Nicklaus, it was his record-tying fourth U.S. Open victory (joining Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson at four), and his 16th win in a professional major. Nicklaus won only four more times after this on the PGA Tour, but two of those were majors.

Nicklaus' 272 total broke his own tournament record of 275, set in 1967 and also at Baltusrol. At the time, Aoki's 274 was the record-low score in a U.S. Open by a non-winner. Aoki went on to win 51 times total in Japan, once on the PGA Tour and nine times on the Champions Tour.

Future two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange first made the cut in a U.S. Open this year. Future major champions Hal Sutton, Mark O'Meara and Sandy Lyle each made his U.S. Open debut here, and each missed the cut (Sutton and O'Meara as amateurs). Meanwhile, past major winners Dow Finsterwald and Al Geiberger played in their last U.S. Opens, both missing the cut.

Seve Ballesteros was the reigning Masters and British Open champ at the time of the 1980 U.S. Open, but missed his tee time in the second round and was disqualified.

1980 U.S. Open Final Scores

Jack Nicklaus 63-71-70-68—272
Isao Aoki 68-68-68-70—274
Keith Fergus 66-70-70-70—276
Lon Hinkle 66-70-69-71—276
Tom Watson 71-68-67-70—276
Mark Hayes 66-71-69-74—280
Mike Reid 69-67-75-69—280
Ed Sneed 72-70-70-70—282
Hale Irwin 70-70-73-69—282
Mike Morley 73-68-69-72—282
Andy North 68-75-72-67—282
Bruce Devlin 71-70-70-72—283
Bobby Wadkins 72-71-68-72—283
Joe Hager 72-70-71-70—283
Lee Trevino 68-73-69-74—284
Pat McGowan 69-69-73-73—284
Bill Rogers 69-72-70-73—284
Gil Morgan 73-70-70-71—284
Curtis Strange 69-74-71-70—284
Joe Inman 74-69-69-72—284
Craig Stadler 73-67-69-75—284
Jim Simons 70-72-71-72—285
J.C. Snead 69-71-73-72—285
Peter Jacobsen 70-69-72-74—285
a-Gary Hallberg 74-68-70-73—285
Jay Haas 67-74-70-75—286
Mark Lye 68-72-77-69—286
John Mahaffey 72-73-69-73—287
David Edwards 73-68-72-74—287
George Burns 75-69-73-70—287
Calvin Peete 67-76-74-70—287
Ben Crenshaw 72-73-71-72—288
Bob Gilder 72-68-74-74—288
Jerry McGee 72-72-70-74—288
Jack Newton 72-71-74-71—288
Hubert Green 73-73-65-77—288
Tom Weiskopf 63-75-76-75—289
Tim Simpson 70-73-73-74—290
a-Bobby Clampett 72-74-71-73—290
Rod Curl 73-71-72-74—290
Gene Littler 72-68-75-75—290
Jim Dent 72-72-70-76—290
Artie McNickle 76-70-72-72—290
Bruce Lietzke 71-72-70-77—290
Scott Simpson 73-72-73-73—291
Wayne Levi 72-71-73-75—291
Charles Coody 72-71-74-75—292
David Graham 72-73-72-75—292
Jim Colbert 72-69-74-77—292
Raymond Floyd 67-79-71-75—292
Lou Graham 73-71-72-77—293
Dave Stockton 73-73-77-70—293
John Cook 71-71-77-75—294
Fuzzy Zoeller 75-70-72-77—294
Tommy McGinnis 69-71-81-74—295
Ron Streck 72-71-76-77—296
Lance Ten Broeck 73-71-71-81—296
Chip Beck 76-70-77-74—297
Jeff Mitchell 69-75-73-81—298
Phil Hancock 76-70-75-78—299
Larry Nelson 70-74-76-79—299
Bobby Walzel 73-70-81-75—299
Arnold Palmer 73-73-77-78—301

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