After twice finishing as a runner-up in The Open over the previous 12 years, Nick Price finally claimed the Claret Jug with a one-stroke victory over Jesper Parnevik at Turnberry.
The pair had a classic duel over the inward half. The Swede, 25, had three birdies in a row from the ninth and after a bogey at the 15th, birdied the 16th and 17th holes to go two clear. Price had played steadily all day but his finish was devastating.
He birdied the 16th and then holed from 50 feet for an eagle at the 17th. “I nearly jumped out of my skin when it went in,” he said. “My heart was pounding.”
At the same time, Parnevik was at the 18th thinking he needed a birdie to win. He went for the flag but finished in rough on a bank beside the green and took three to get down for a bogey.
Price, who had won his first major at the 1992 PGA Championship, a title he would regain just weeks later, then secured a winning par at the last.
For the second year running, following Greg Norman, the Champion Golfer had recorded four rounds in the 60s, while Parnevik joined Ernie Els in being a non-winner with the same distinction.
“It’s like a fairy tale to finish like that to win a major championship,” Price said. “You reach down deep inside yourself and, sometimes, you surprise yourself.”
On the day before The Open, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, who contested the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, combined for a better ball score of 60 to win a friendly match against Price and 1986 Champion Golfer Norman. Watson continued his good form to lead after a second-round 65 but fell away over the weekend.