1987 Masters: Local Golfer's Miracle Finish

The 1987 Masters was the 51st one played. It was won by a native of Augusta, Georgia, in a playoff over two superstars. And that local boy made good by holing-out a famous chip shot.

Winner: Larry Mize, 285

Where it was played: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia

Tournament dates: April 9-12, 1987

Leader after first round: John Cook, 69

Leader after second round: Curtis Strange, 141

Leader after third round: Ben Crenshaw and Roger Maltbie, 212

What Happened in the 1987 Masters Tournament

Hometown boy Larry Mize, a native of Augusta, Georgia, won the 1987 Masters in what goes down as another of Greg Norman's hard-luck losses.

Mize birdied the 72nd hole to get in the clubhouse at 3-under 285. Norman and Seve Ballesteros each birdied the 71st hole to tie Mize. Ballesteros parred the final hole of regulation, while Norman had a putt to win the tournament but the ball skirted the left side of the cup. And that sent Norman, Mize and Ballesteros into a sudden-death playoff.

Ballesteros, a two-time Masters champion, dropped out on the first hole after a 3-putt. Mize and Norman continued to a second playoff hole.

And on that next hole, Mize found himself short of the par-4 green in two. He needed, everyone thought, to get the ball close enough to make his par putt and keep the playoff going. A bogey seemed a strong possibility from that position. But Mize did better than an up-and-down. His 140-foot chip bounced up onto the green, bounced again, and then rolled across the green, dropping into the cup. A chip-in birdie to win the 1987 Masters.

"I didn't think Larry would get down in two, and I was right," Norman said of the chip-in. "He got down in one."

Norman missed his birdie putt attempt, and Mize was the champion. Norman had begun the final round tied for second place with Bernhard Langer, one stroke behind co-leaders Ben Crenshaw and Roger Maltbie. Maltbie had the solo lead after eight holes but fell away on the back nine. Crenshaw led at various points in the final round, including after his 16th hole. But Crenshaw bogeyed No. 17 and finished tied for fourth with Maltbie and Jodie Mudd. Langer fell into a tie for seventh.

It was another disappointing loss for Norman. The Shark had been a victim of Jack Nicklaus' famous charge at the 1986 Masters (and Norman's own wild approach into the final green); and at the major just previous to the 1987 Masters, the 1986 PGA Championship, Norman lost when Bob Tway pulled off an unlikely hole-out from a bunker on the final hole.

Speaking of Nicklaus, one year after his sixth and final victory he finished tied for seventh. Billy Casper, 1970 Masters champ, made the cut for the last time in a Masters and tied for 50th. Johnny Miller, never a winner of this major but three times a runner-up, also made his last Masters cut, tying for 42nd.

1987 Masters Final Scores

Larry Mize 70-72-72-71—285
Seve Ballesteros 73-71-70-71—285
Greg Norman 73-74-66-72—285
Ben Crenshaw 75-70-67-74—286
Roger Maltbie 76-66-70-74—286
Jodie Mudd 74-72-71-69—286
Jay Haas 72-72-72-73—289
Bernhard Langer 71-72-70-76—289
Jack Nicklaus 74-72-73-70—289
Tom Watson 71-72-74-72—289
D.A, Weibring 72-75-71-71—289
Chip Beck 75-72-70-73—290
T.C. Chen 74-69-71-76—290
Mark McCumber 75-71-69-75—290
Curtis Strange 71-70-73-76—290
Lanny Wadkins 73-72-70-75—290
Paul Azinger 77-73-69-72—291
Mark Calcavecchia 73-72-78-68—291
Sandy Lyle 77-74-68-72—291
Craig Stadler 74-74-72-71—291
Bobby Wadkins 76-69-73-74—292
Gary Koch 76-75-72-70—293
Nick Price 73-73-71-76—293
John Cook 69-73-74-78—294
Tom Kite 73-74-74-73—294
Mark O'Meara 75-74-71-74—294
David Graham 73 77 72 73—295
Donnie Hammond 73-75-74-73—295
Corey Pavin 71-71-81-72—295
Scott Simpson 72-75-72-76—295
Dennis Watson 76-74-73-72—295
Fuzzy Zoeller 76-71-76-72—295
Calvin Peete 71-77-75-73—296
Gene Sauers 75-73-74-74—296
Andy Bean 75-69-78-75—297
Howard Clark 74-71-77-75—297
Hubert Green 80-71-74-72—297
John Mahaffey 73-75-76-73—297
Gary Player 75-75-71-76—297
Joey Sindelar 74-70-81-72—297
Mark Wiebe 73-74-71-79—297
Johnny Miller 75-75-71-77—298
Payne Stewart 71-75-74-78—298
Jim Thorpe 77-74-76-71—298
David Frost 75-70-77-78—300
Kenny Knox 75-75-75-75—300
Don Pooley 76-75-76-73—300
Mike Hulbert 76-75-71-79—301
Bruce Lietzke 75-74-77-76—302
Tommy Aaron 72-76-76-81—305
Dave Barr 79-68-79-79—305
Billy Casper 77-74-75-79—305
Mac O'Grady 72-79-79-75—305
a-Bob Lewis Jr. 74-77-79-79—309

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1986 Masters - 1988 Masters

Augusta.com. "Historic Leaderboard: 1987 Masters," https://www.augusta.com/masters/historic/leaderboards/1987
Augusta National Golf Club. Masters 2024 Media Guide, "1987 Masters Tournament"
Brenner, Morgan. The Majors of Golf (commissions earned), Volume 2, 2009, McFarland and Company.
Green, Bob. "Oh what a feeling! Mize masters Masters," Spokane Spokesman-Review, April 13, 1987, https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=g6gpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ee8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6488%2C7541040

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