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Daly Wins a Shocker in 91 PGA

RSS

Has there ever been an upset of the magnitude of the 1991 PGA Championship? Has anyone ever rivaled John Daly, the Hogan Tour refugee who was the ninth and final alternate to the Big Show, going on to play four days - and win it all?
 
Daly was in his first season on the PGA Tour, a University of Arkansas ex who had floundered around on the Hogan and had shown signs of promise on the big tour. But he had missed 11 of 24 cuts in 1991 and missed the cut in sectional qualifying for the PGA. Slowly but surely big names began dropping out, however, prompting Daly to get in his car with his girlfriend and drive the 7?-hours from his home in Dardanelle, Ark., to the Crooked Stick golf course near Indianapolis, Ind.
 
This was Wednesday afternoon, when Daly still wasnt in the field. He got to Indianapolis at midnight, find out that Nick Price had dropped out as his wife had given birth to a baby, and decided to use Prices caddy, the late Squeaky Medlen.
 
Daly was something of a surprise when he shot a 69 in the opening round and was just two shots off the lead - seeing the course for the first time. He was really a surprise when he shot 67 in the second round and led by a stroke at the halfway point over Bruce Lietzke.
 
Always one of the longest drivers in the game, Daly was getting it done by hitting his drives long - and straight. But his short game was shocking everyone. He got up-down-down when he had to, and he rarely missed a putt from six feet in.
 
Dalys 69 the third round vaulted him three clear of Kenny Knox, who continued to hang close with a 70.
 
The fourth round began with Daly making a bogey, and suddenly everyone began saying what a nice run it had been but now it was over. Lietzke had birdied, cutting the deficit to two shots, and it looked like the Daly Show was over.
 
But Daly came right back with a birdie at the second and people began looking at him seriously. A birdie at the fifth lifted him to a four-stroke lead, and by the turn his 35 looked for all the world like it was going to hold up.
 
It was now apparent that no would catch Daly unless Daly faltered. But Daly kept bombing drives and making putts. Lietzke stood an outside chance, but it was too little and too late. Dalys lead grow to five the back nine before he ran into a hiccup at the 17th. He made a double-bogey five on the par-3 out of the sand, but he still had a three-shot lead as he played the 18th.
 
Water is up the right side of the 18th, but Daly safely played to the left. An 8-iron onto the green and two putts finished it.
 
'It feels wonderful,' Daly said. 'It just feels so wonderful it's hard to put into words. It's a dream come true.'
 
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