1981 U.S. Open Winner and Scores

The 1981 U.S. Open was the 81st time the tournament was played. The winner earned his second career victory in a major. But he also established a first: first Australian golfer to win the U.S. Open.

Winner: David Graham, 273

Where it was played: Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania

Tournament dates: June 18-21, 1981

Leader after first round: Jim Thorpe, 66

Leader after second round: George Burns, 135

Leader after third round: George Burns, 203

What Happened at the 1981 U.S. Open

David Graham birdied the 14th and 15th holes in the final round to take the lead away from third-round leader George Burns, and wound up winning by three over Burns and Bill Rogers. Graham's final round of 67 included only one missed fairway (on the first hole) and no missed greens. It was his second win in a major championship.

Graham was also the first Australian golfer to win a U.S. Open. Kel Nagle had finished runner-up in the 1965 U.S. Open, and Bruce Crampton was second in the 1972 U.S. Open. Graham finally went from Down Under to up top in the USGA's championship. Graham had previously won the 1979 PGA Championship, and it was the seventh of his eight career wins on the PGA Tour.

Burns had a 1-shot lead through the front nine of the final round, but a bogey on the 10th dropped him into a tie with Graham. Then Graham birdied the 14th to move in front for good.

The first-round leader was Jim Thorpe, who became the first African-American golfer to lead a U.S. Open since John Shippen shared the lead in 1896. Chi Chi Rodriguez finished tied for sixth, his best showing in any major and one of just four Top 10 finishes in majors for Rodriguez. Defending champ Jack Nicklaus was two off the lead after 36 holes, but fell five back after the third round and finished tied for sixth place.

1981 U.S. Open Final Scores

David Graham 68-68-70-67—273
Bill Rogers 70-68-69-69—276
George Burns 69-66-68-73—276
John Cook 68-70-71-70—279
John Schroeder 71-68-69-71—279
Lon Hinkle 69-71-70-70—280
Sammy Rachels 70-71-69-70—280
Jack Nicklaus 69-68-71-72—280
Frank Conner 71-72-69-68—280
Chi Chi Rodriguez 68-73-67-72—280
Isao Aoki 72-71-71-67—281
Jim Thorpe 66-73-70-72—281
Ben Crenshaw 70-75-64-72—281
Lanny Wadkins 71-68-72-71—282
Mark Hayes 71-70-72-69—282
Calvin Peete 73-72-67-70—282
Bruce Lietzke 70-71-71-71—283
Jack Renner 68-71-72-72—283
Curtis Strange 71-69-72-71—283
Mike Reid 71-72-69-72—284
Larry Nelson 70-73-69-72—284
Tom Kite 73-74-67-70—284
Johnny Miller 69-71-73-72—285
Tom Watson 70-69-73-73—285
Scott Simpson 72-67-71-75—285
Gary Player 72-72-71-71—286
Bruce Devlin 73-71-70-72—286
Jerry Pate 70-69-72-75—286
Rik Massengale 70-75-70-71—286
Craig Stadler 71-76-68-71—286
Tommy Valentine 69-68-72-77—286
Jim Colbert 71-69-77-69—286
Lee Elder 72-74-71-70—287
Billy Kratzert 69-69-73-76—287
Greg Norman 71-67-73-76—287
J.C. Snead 67-77-73-70—287
Peter Jacobsen 71-74-71-72—288
Forrest Fezler 70-72-71-75—288
Raymond Floyd 75-72-68-73—288
Hubert Green 69-76-71-72—288
Roger Maltbie 71-74-74-70—289
Seve Ballesteros 73-69-72-75—289
Andy North 73-74-72-71—290
Keith Fergus 74-71-73-72—290
Tim Simpson 70-75-74-71—290
D.A. Weibring 71-72-72-75—290
Leonard Thompson 75-71-74-70—290
Thomas Gray 75-72-73-70—290
Mike Peck 76-68-71-75—290
Bobby Wadkins 70-72-71-77—290
Mick Soli 77-69-72-72—290
Bob Ackerman 68-78-71-73—290
Steve Melnyk 70-75-73-73—291
Mark McNulty 72-69-75-75—291
Jim Nelford 74-73-69-75—291
Gary Hallberg 70-77-69-75—291
Bobby Nichols 71-71-78-71—291
Greg Powers 73-73-72-74—292
Ray Carrasco 74-71-73-74—292
Hale Irwin 72-75-73-72—292
Joe Hager 74-73-77-68—292
George Archer 76-69-70-77—292
Jim Simons 78-69-67-78—292
Charlie Gibson 75-72-71-75—293
Bill Pelham 73-73-73-75—294
Morris Hatalsky 71-76-72-75—294
a-Joey Rassett 70-70-78-76—294
Dave Barr 74-72-73-76—295
Mark Lye 70-72-76-78—296
Kip Byrne 74-72-79-75—300

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