Greg Norman becomes a worthy Open Champion
The 1986 Open Championship was played at Turnberry. Thursday dawned cold, wet and windy, producing high scoring among the players for the first round. Only one player, Ian Woosnam managed to score 70 and match par. Earlier in the day, Nick Faldo had gone round in 71 and became one of only four players to go one over. Greg Norman started well with two birdies at the first two holes and reached the turn in 35 strokes. He had a rough ride home and finished on 74.
The second day saw better weather conditions and lower scores but still only fifteen players finished below par. Among these was Greg Norman who scored an outstanding 63, equalling the lowest round score in the history of The Open. His round consisted of one eagle, eight birdies, six pars and two bogeys, the last of which came at the 18th to rob him of a possible 62. He surged to the top of the leader board with a score of 137, two shots clear of Gordon J. Brand. Tsuneyuki Nakajima and Nick Faldo were a further two strokes behind whilst Bernhard Langer was on 142.
Once again, skies darkened and rain fell. On the third day of play, only one man could beat par, Ho Ming Chung of Taiwan, who had the advantage of an early start and better weather conditions. Four players scored 70, including a delighted Woosnam and Lyle, who were keeping British hopes for a win alive. Nakajima also stayed in contention, scoring one over par and finishing one off the lead.
Faldo and Langer dropped back with 76’s, while Brand battled with the worsening weather and shot 75, to finish three shots off the lead. Norman had a reversal of the previous day’s fortunes. He gained a five stroke lead during his round, but five bogeys on the back nine left him with a tenuous one stroke lead over Nakajima going into the final day.
The weather finally relented for the final day of the competition. The biggest surprise of the day came from Seve Ballesteros who shot 64 to finish on 288. Nakajima started his final round with a double bogey at the first hole and rapidly fell away from contention. A final score of 77 gave him a total of 289 and a joint 7th finishing position. Brand’s round of 71 included an eagle at the 17th and he finished with 285. A surprise late challenge of the day came from Bernhard Langer. He played an excellent second nine, with huge crowd support, to score 68 and finish with 286. This was good enough to tie for third with Woosnam, who scored 72. Norman, however, was on top of his game. He played a cool round of 69 to finish on a total of 280 and become The Champion Golfer of the Year, five strokes ahead of Brand.