Player wins his first major title
The 1959 Open at Muirfield marked the emergence of Gary Player as a world-class golfer, launching a career that encompassed nine major titles. In a 20-year span he captured all four of the Grand Slam events. A victory at Muirfield looked highly unlikely at the start of the final day’s 36 holes for he was eight shots behind the leaders. His third round 70 moved him steadily through the field, with only four players returning a better score during the morning’s play.
In the afternoon he raced ahead, needing a four at the final hole for a round of 66. But he bunkered his tee shot and three-putted for a six. Convinced that he had thrown away a chance of the title he spent an agonising wait while the earlier leaders struggled to match his 284 total.
But nobody was up to the task and his margin of victory was two shots over Flory van Donck of Belgium and Fred Bullock. Over the two final rounds he had outscored his closest opposition by eight and 10 shots respectively.