Chip-in victory for Lee Trevino
The 1972 Open at Muirfield was one of the most dramatic in the history of the championship. Jack Nicklaus had already won that year’s Masters and US Open titles, but trailed third round leaders Lee Trevino and Tony Jacklin by six and five shots respectively. As they stood on the first tee before the final round, Trevino and Jacklin joked about becoming more famous for stopping a Nicklaus Grand Slam than for winning the Open. By the time they approached the ninth green the Golden Bear had taken the lead on his way to a closing 66.
He set a clubhouse target of 279, leaving Trevino and Jacklin, tied for the lead on the 17th tee, two pars for victory. Trevino bunkered his tee shot, hit his third into rough short and left and pitched strongly to the upslope behind the green. Jacklin, just short in two, left his pitch and run 16 feet short of the hole, but looked certain to take at least a one stroke advantage to the final hole.
By his own admission Trevino paid scant attention to his next shot, yet the ball rolled unnerringly into the hole for the most unlikely par five. Jacklin three-putted, then dropped a shot at the last to move back to third place behind Nicklaus as Trevino successfully defended the title he had won a year earlier at Birkdale. From the 16th hole of the third round, where a thinned bunker shot clattered the flagstick before dropping into the hole, Trevino holed out three times from off the green in his quest to retain the silver claret jug.