Turnberry — 1994

Nick Price ecstatic after his amazing finishPrice takes The Open after a closely fought final round

Turnberry was the venue for the 1994 Open Championship. The first day saw unusually low scoring, despite conditions turning wet and miserable in the afternoon. New Zealander Greg Turner took the first round lead with a score of 65 whilst the unheralded Jonathon Lomas, playing in his first Open, scored 66 and Andrew Magee scored 67. Twelve players, including five times Open Champion Tom Watson and Sweden’s Jesper Parnevik, were tied on 68. Nick Price was a further stroke behind.

The second day of the competition also saw low scoring, with forty seven players breaking par. To the crowd’s delight, Tom Watson had an inspired round of 65, propelling him into the lead by one stroke. American Brad Faxon also went round in 65 to move into a tie for second place with Parnevik on 133, whilst Price, after a score of 66 was one stroke behind them. Turner and Lomas both finished on 136 whilst Magee slumped with an 80 and missed the cut.

Conditions were almost perfect for the third day of play, and low scores were again achieved, with over half the field shooting under par. Norman initially looked threatening but a lost ball at the 16th dashed any hopes he had of defending his title. Zoeller, Faxon, Watson, Price and Parnevik battled it out and were joined by Ronan Rafferty who shot 65.

They took it in turns to lead throughout the day and at one point six players were within a stroke of each other. In the end Zoeller shot a magnificent 64 to climb from seventh and share the lead with Faxon, who had scored 67. Watson played defensive golf but in the end his score of 69 dropped him to tie for third with three others — Rafferty, Price and Parnevik. Everyone prepared for a close contest the following day.

Nerves were evident on the final day and scoring was higher. Crowd favourite Watson fell away, only managing 74 and neither Zoeller nor Faxon could hold their lead. Faldo found some of his second round form for a 64 and tied for 8th position. The true excitement came at the end of the day, down the back nine between Price and Parnevik. Parnevik made the first move by going ahead at the 10th and Price was forced to make two important saves at the 13th and 14th holes. Parnevik continued his assault on the course, holing his putt at the 17th and believed, at two strokes in front, that the Open title was his.

Meanwhile, Price sank a birdie at the 16th and then holed an unbelievable 50-foot putt for an eagle at the 17th. Parnevik needed to make par at the 18th for a win, or in the worst case, a tie. The Swede did not check the scoreboard as he stood at the 18th tee and assumed that he needed a birdie on the final hole. Parnevik’s drive went down the right edge of the fairway and he decided to attack the pin with a pitching wedge. The ball fell short against a grassy bank and he was short with his recovery shot. He finished with a bogey five for a total of 269. In contrast, when Price came to the 18th tee, he knew that if he played it in four strokes, he would win The Open. Playing with irons, he was on the green in two, lagged his putt to within two feet of the hole and then rolled it in. Price was The Open Champion with a score of 268.

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