Nicklaus Eagle Springboard to 63 Victory


The British Open had been played nine days before, with the weather and temperatures so chilly at Royal Lytham and St. Annes that you wore two, sometimes three, sweaters. Jack Nicklaus gave that one away in 1963, bogeying the last two holes to miss a playoff between Bob Charles and Phil Rodgers. Charles won while Nicklaus, only 23 years old, learned some valuable lessons about staying focused for 72 holes.
Nicklaus had led the duo by one shot with two holes to play, but he bogeyed back-to-back while Charles and Rodgers both birdied the 16th. Jack was in a pensive mood when he reached Dallas, where the thermometer reached a scorching 105 degrees in an unusual streak of Texas heat.
The first round was a very quiet 69, which was three off the lead of Dick Hart, who had shot 66. And the second round Nicklaus fell further back when he struggled with a 73. He was in a tie for fifth while Doug Sanders had moved up to replace him in second. Hart had shot 72 and still was in first place, four shots ahead of Nicklaus.
The third round saw Nicklaus claw back with a 69, this time trailing Bruce Crampton, who had a tournament-best 18 of 65. Jack was in third place, three shots behind.
Nicklaus was concentrating on his drive on the first hole of the fourth round. He had earlier won a special long-drive contest Wednesday, nailing it 342 yards. Figuring he was hitting at least that far while warming up and facing a par-5 on the first hole at the Dallas Athletic Club, he decided to ignore his own advice about always being conservative at the start of a round.
Nicklaus laid into the drive, swinging with all his might, and it soared out to 350 yards. He put the second shot, only a 5-iron, on the green 15 feet from the pin and sank the putt for eagle. Already he had made up two shots on the lead, leaving him just one behind, and he wasnt even yet to the second hole.
Using that as a springboard, Nicklaus went on to shoot a 68 and defeat a fading Crampton by three shots, with Dave Ragan coming in second. He had won three jewels en route to a career slam ' the U.S. Open, the Masters, and now the PGA.
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