1987 British Open Winner and Scores

The 1987 British Open was the 116th time the tournament was played. The winner used brute efficiency in the final round: Nick Faldo parred all 18 holes.

Winner: Nick Faldo, 279

Where it was played: Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland

Tournament dates: July 16-19, 1987

Leader after first round: Rodger Davis, 64

Leader after second round: Paul Azinger, 136

Leader after third round: Paul Azinger, 207

What Happened in the 1987 Open Championship

Later in his career, Nick Faldo had the reputation as a clutch player, a great player who pulled off big shots under pressure. Early in his career? Not so much. Although Faldo was a successful player before the 1987 British Open — he led the European Tour Order of Merit in 1983 — he had a different reputation prior to this tournament: A player who couldn't take the pressure. He was even called, by some, Nick "Fold-o" because he had played poorly down the stretch in several big tournaments.

When did that earlier reputation change to the later one? This tournament is a good candidate. Here, Faldo won his first major championship. Not only did he not succumb to pressure down the stretch, he played the most even-keel final round possible: 18 holes, 18 pars.

Faldo trailed Paul Azinger by one stroke entering the final round. Azinger took the lead on the second day and maintained it through the third round in a tournament plagued by rains and howling winds. The R&A's history of the event notes that in the third round, four holes playing into the wind had to be shortened just so players could reach the fairways from the tees. But Azinger managed a 71 in those conditions, and Faldo a 71, too, to set up the final round.

And Faldo was a par machine in that final round. No bogeys, no birdies, just 18 pars. It wasn't the most exciting golf, but it was precise, and it was what was necessary to win. Faldo carded a 71 and posted 5-under 279, then waited to see if Azinger could beat him. Azinger would have won if he had made pars of his own on the 71st and 72nd holes.

But Azinger couldn't do it. He bogeyed the 17th. A birdie on the 18th would still give Azinger the win, a par would force a playoff. But Azinger bogeyed again after his approach to the green found a bunker, and he finished second, one stroke behind. Rodger Davis tied Azinger in second place, Davis' best-ever showing in a major (and one of just two Top 10s in majors for Davis).

Faldo went onto win five more majors. Azinger finally got his own major win at the 1993 PGA Championship, where he topped Greg Norman in a playoff, a playoff Faldo missed by one stroke.

1987 British Open Final Scores

Nick Faldo 68-69-71-71—279
Paul Azinger 68-68-71-73—280
Rodger Davis 64-73-74-69—280
Payne Stewart 71-66-72-72—281
Ben Crenshaw 73-68-72-68—281
David Frost 70-68-70-74—282
Tom Watson 69-69-71-74—283
Ian Woosnam 71-69-72-72—284
Nick Price 68-71-72-73—284
Craig Stadler 69-69-71-75—284
Jumbo Ozaki 69-72-71-73—285
Jose Maria Olazabal 70-73-70-72—285
Hal Sutton 71-70-73-71—285
Mark Calcavecchia 69-70-72-74—285
Graham Marsh 69-70-72-74—285
Mark McNulty 71-69-75-70—285
Lee Trevino 67-74-73-72—286
Ken Brown 69-73-70-74—286
Mark Roe 74-68-72-72—286
Eamonn Darcy 74-69-72-71—286
Bernhard Langer 69-69-76-72—286
Wayne Grady 70-71-76-69—286
Raymond Floyd 72-68-70-76—286
Sandy Lyle 76-69-71-70—286
Gerry Taylor 69-68-75-75—287
Gordon Brand Jr. 73-70-75-70—288
Larry Mize 68-71-76-73—288
David Feherty 74-70-77-67—288
Danny Edwards 71-73-72-73—289
Anders Forsbrand 73-69-73-74—289
Lanny Wadkins 72-71-75-71—289
Ken Green 67-76-74-72—289
Fuzzy Zoeller 71-70-76-72—289
David Graham 69-73-78-70—290
Greg Norman 71-71-74-75—291
Manuel Calero 71-74-75-71—291
Jay Haas 69-74-76-72—291
Bob Tway 67-72-75-77—291
Ross Drummond 79-66-77-69—291
Gordon J. Brand 72-72-74-74—292
Andy Bean 70-73-75-74—292
Fred Couples 70-74-78-70—292
Derrick Cooper 74-72-78-68—292
Ossie Moore 71-72-76-74—293
Brian Marchbank 72-72-76-73—293
Fulton Allem 74-69-77-73—293
Carl Mason 70-69-78-76—293
Larry Nelson 70-75-76-73—294
John Slaughter 72-71-76-75—294
Philip Walton 72-73-75-75—295
Seve Ballesteros 73-70-77-75—295
Sam Torrance 76-69-77-73—295
Mats Lanner 71-74-79-71—295
Billy Andrade 74-69-78-75—296
Roger Chapman 70-73-79-74—296
John O'Leary 71-73-79-73—296
Ove Sellberg 71-72-78-76—297
a-Paul Mayo 72-70-75-80—297
Bill McColl 71-75-77-75—298
Tommy Nakajima 73-72-77-76—298
Brian Jones 73-72-80-73—298
Miguel Angel Martin 74-71-77-77—299
Howard Clark 72-73-78-76—299
Neil Hansen 75-69-80-75—299
Scott Simpson 75-71-82-71—299
Hugh Baiocchi 72-73-78-77—300
Jet Ozaki 72-73-78-77—300
Brandel Chamblee 73-72-77-78—300
Gary Player 72-74-79-75—300
Mark O'Meara 73-72-82-73—300
Wayne Westner 71-75-84-71—301
Tom Kite 73-72-81-76—302
Jack Nicklaus 74-71-81-76—302
Jeff Hawkes 71-74-80-78—303
a-Ricky Willison 75-71-83-76—305
Chris Moody 76-70-81-79—306
David Jones 72-74-83-78—307
Anthony Stevens 71-75-82-84—312

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