Sandy Lyle captures an overdue home victory
When Tony Jacklin won the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1969 an 11-year-old youngster in the grandstand by the 18th green almost caught the ball he tossed into the crowd. It was to be another 16 years before that youngster became the next home winner of the championship.
The younster was Sandy Lyle and his victory came in 1985 at Royal St George’s. At the start of the final day he was three shots behind overnight leaders Bernhard Langer and Australian David Graham, but Lyle was the only player to tame the inward stretch. After driving into heavy rough to the left of the long 14th he could only hack out 80 yards with the sand-wedge. He then hit a two-iron to the edge of the green and holed a 45-foot putt for an unlikely birdie.
At the final hole his second shot drifted down the slope to the left of the green and his delicate pitch failed to clear the rise back to the putting surface. But he got down in two from there for a 70 to hold a one shot advantage over Payne Stewart, who closed with a 68. Graham and Langer dropped back into a five-way tie for third place with Jose Rivero (Spain), Christy O’Connor jr (Ireland), Mark O’Meara (USA).