Lytham and St Annes

Lytham and St Annes — 1988

Seve won his third and final Open at LythamSeve Repeats His Lytham Victory

Seve Ballesteros was a more controlled, and more dangerous golfer, when he returned to the famous Lancashire links of Lytham in 1988 than he had been as a 22-year-old Open victor over the same course nine years earlier. In the intervening years he had won a second Open, at St Andrews in 1984, and captured the US Masters title twice.

His progress at Lytham, together with that of every other player, was halted by torrential rain which washed out the third round and play spilled over to Monday.

On that final day Nick Price led Ballesteros and Nick Faldo by two shots. Thanks to the vagaries of the weather the normal two-man pairings were changed and the three leading contenders went out together at the tail of the field.

Faldo fell slightly off the pace early on, but Price was in superb form and his fine 69 would, in 99 Opens out of 100, have earned him the title. But Seve’s play was nothing short of inspirational. On his way to a 65 and a two-shot victory over Price, one hole was particularly significant.

The short par four 16th was where, in 1979, he had thundered a drive into a temporary car park well to the right, then recovered after a free drop to hole a long putt for an unlikely birdie. Nine years on, a more mature Ballesteros found perfect position in the fairway with a one-iron from the tee and left an exquisite nine-iron approach just three inches from the hole.

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