Ben Curtis

2003 / Royal St George's

Few people noticed when Ben Curtis came home in 32 strokes in the third round of the 2003 Open to lie two off the lead.

But when he went out in 32 the next day, and collected six birdies in the first 11 holes to lead his better-known peers by two strokes, he got everyone’s attention. Who was Ben Curtis?

A 26-year-old from Ohio, he was in his rookie season on the PGA Tour, ranked 396th in the world, and encountering links golf for the first time.

When he arrived, he asked the club professional how to play the course. The local knowledge proved invaluable on a fast and bouncy, sun-baked links - until he dropped four strokes in six holes. But he holed an eight-footer for par at the last to finish as the only player under par.

It turned out even the best were dropping shots. Vijay Singh and Thomas Bjorn finished one adrift, while Tiger Woods, who lost a ball on his opening drive on the first day and took a 7, and Davis Love were two behind.

Bjorn’s demise was the most shocking. He birdied the 14th to go three ahead but dropped four shots in the next three holes, taking three to get out of a bunker at the 16th for a double bogey.

In the first round the Dane also had bunker problems at the 17th when an angry swipe at the sand cost him a two-shot penalty and a quadruple bogey.

Not since Tom Watson in 1975 had a player won when playing in his first Open and not since Francis Ouimet at the 1913 US Open had a player won his first major.

“Right now many people are probably saying, ‘Well, he doesn’t belong there,’ but I know I do and that’s all that matters,” Curtis said.

Name
Finish
R1
R2
R3
R4
Total
Par
Ben CURTIS
1
72
72
70
69
283
-
Vijay SINGH
2
75
70
69
70
284
-
Thomas BJORN
2
73
70
69
72
284
-
4
73
72
69
71
285
-
Davis LOVE III
4
69
72
72
72
285
-
Freddie JACOBSON
6
70
76
70
70
286
-
Brian DAVIS
6
77
73
68
68
286
-
Kenny PERRY
8
74
70
70
73
287
-
8
76
74
67
70
287
-
10
73
71
70
74
288
-
Retief GOOSEN
10
73
75
71
69
288
-
Hennie OTTO
10
68
76
75
69
288
-
Phillip PRICE
10
74
72
69
73
288
-
Gary EVANS
10
71
75
70
72
288
-
Chad CAMPBELL
15
74
71
72
72
289
-
Pierre FULKE
15
77
72
67
73
289
-
Stuart APPLEBY
15
75
71
71
72
289
-
Mathias GRONBERG
18
71
74
73
72
290
-
18
78
68
72
72
290
-
18
71
77
73
69
290
-
18
69
79
74
68
290
-
KJ CHOI
22
77
72
72
70
291
-
Thomas LEVET
22
71
73
74
73
291
-
J L LEWIS
22
78
70
72
71
291
-
22
75
73
74
69
291
-
Angel CABRERA
22
75
73
70
73
291
-
Peter FOWLER
22
77
73
70
71
291
-
Paul McGINLEY
28
77
73
69
73
292
-
Andrew OLDCORN
28
72
74
73
73
292
-
S K HO
28
70
73
72
77
292
-
Mike WEIR
28
74
76
71
71
292
-
Mark FOSTER
28
73
73
72
74
292
-
28
74
72
72
74
292
-
Duffy WALDORF
34
76
73
71
73
293
-
Marco RUIZ
34
73
71
75
74
293
-
Gary MURPHY
34
73
74
73
73
293
-
34
75
75
75
68
293
-
Scott McCARRON
34
71
74
73
75
293
-
Adam MEDNICK
34
76
72
76
69
293
-
Jose COCERES
34
77
70
72
74
293
-
Bob ESTES
34
77
71
76
69
293
-
Shingo KATAYAMA
34
76
73
73
71
293
-
Tom BYRUM
43
77
72
71
74
294
-
Rich BEEM
43
76
74
75
69
294
-
Robert ALLENBY
43
73
75
74
72
294
-
Fred COUPLES
46
71
75
71
78
295
-
Mathew GOGGIN
46
76
72
70
77
295
-
Anthony WALL
46
75
74
71
75
295
-
Brad FAXON
46
77
73
70
75
295
-
46
77
73
72
73
295
-
46
78
72
70
75
295
-
Markus BRIER
46
76
71
74
74
295
-
Raphael JACQUELIN
53
77
71
72
76
296
-
David LYNN
53
73
76
71
76
296
-
Trevor IMMELMAN
53
77
73
72
74
296
-
Mark MCNULTY
53
79
71
77
69
296
-
Michael CAMPBELL
53
78
72
74
72
296
-
53
79
71
75
71
296
-
Peter LONARD
59
73
73
70
81
297
-
Alastair FORSYTH
59
74
70
78
75
297
-
Skip KENDALL
59
73
76
73
75
297
-
59
75
75
71
76
297
-
59
74
72
73
78
297
-
Craig PARRY
59
73
73
76
75
297
-
65
73
77
77
71
298
-
65
71
76
77
74
298
-
Stephen LEANEY
65
74
76
78
70
298
-
Len MATTIACE
65
74
75
74
75
298
-
Katsuyoshi TOMORI
69
72
77
75
76
300
-
John ROLLINS
70
72
76
78
75
301
-
Chris SMITH
71
74
73
76
79
302
-
72
75
74
74
80
303
-
Ian WOOSNAM
72
73
75
80
75
303
-
Jesper PARNEVIK
DQ
72
75
-
-
-
M/C
Mark ROE
DQ
77
70
-
-
-
M/C
Eduardo ROMERO
M/C
75
76
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
76
75
-
-
-
M/C
Steen TINNING
M/C
78
73
-
-
-
M/C
Lee JANZEN
M/C
76
75
-
-
-
M/C
Anders HANSEN
M/C
76
75
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
78
73
-
-
-
M/C
Jose Maria OLAZABAL
M/C
74
77
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
74
77
-
-
-
M/C
Bernhard LANGER
M/C
76
76
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
73
79
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
74
78
-
-
-
M/C
Ignacio GARRIDO
M/C
80
72
-
-
-
M/C
Niclas FASTH
M/C
76
76
-
-
-
M/C
Scott VERPLANK
M/C
78
74
-
-
-
M/C
Nick O'HERN
M/C
82
70
-
-
-
M/C
Soren KJELDSEN
M/C
74
78
-
-
-
M/C
Andrew RAITT
M/C
74
78
-
-
-
M/C
Bradley DREDGE
M/C
80
72
-
-
-
M/C
Corey PAVIN
M/C
74
78
-
-
-
M/C
Hal SUTTON
M/C
76
76
-
-
-
M/C
Jay HAAS
M/C
80
72
-
-
-
M/C
Steven BOWDITCH
M/C
77
76
-
-
-
M/C
Rolf MUNTZ
M/C
82
71
-
-
-
M/C
Jeff SLUMAN
M/C
78
75
-
-
-
M/C
Ricky BARNES
M/C
79
74
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
76
77
-
-
-
M/C
Cameron PERCY
M/C
76
77
-
-
-
M/C
David TOMS
M/C
80
73
-
-
-
M/C
Joe DURANT
M/C
77
76
-
-
-
M/C
Chris RILEY
M/C
78
75
-
-
-
M/C
Jarrod MOSELEY
M/C
74
79
-
-
-
M/C
Soren HANSEN
M/C
80
74
-
-
-
M/C
Chris DIMARCO
M/C
79
75
-
-
-
M/C
Hirofumi MIYASE
M/C
81
73
-
-
-
M/C
Cliff KRESGE
M/C
81
73
-
-
-
M/C
Marten OLANDER
M/C
79
75
-
-
-
M/C
Peter O'MALLEY
M/C
78
76
-
-
-
M/C
Fred FUNK
M/C
75
80
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
81
74
-
-
-
M/C
Charl SCHWARTZEL
M/C
78
77
-
-
-
M/C
Kenneth FERRIE
M/C
74
81
-
-
-
M/C
Dudley HART
M/C
76
79
-
-
-
M/C
Christopher SMITH
M/C
77
78
-
-
-
M/C
Craig PERKS
M/C
78
77
-
-
-
M/C
Luke DONALD
M/C
76
79
-
-
-
M/C
Nobuhito SATO
M/C
72
83
-
-
-
M/C
Greg OWEN
M/C
79
77
-
-
-
M/C
Steve FLESCH
M/C
73
83
-
-
-
M/C
Jonathan KAYE
M/C
75
81
-
-
-
M/C
David HOWELL
M/C
77
79
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
85
71
-
-
-
M/C
Shigeki MARUYAMA
M/C
83
73
-
-
-
M/C
Robert-Jan DERKSEN
M/C
78
78
-
-
-
M/C
Simon WAKEFIELD
M/C
82
74
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
82
74
-
-
-
M/C
Gary WOLSTENHOLME
M/C
74
82
-
-
-
M/C
Paul WESSELINGH
M/C
79
78
-
-
-
M/C
Gary EMERSON
M/C
77
80
-
-
-
M/C
Euan LITTLE
M/C
80
77
-
-
-
M/C
Hideto TANIHARA
M/C
79
78
-
-
-
M/C
Mark SMITH
M/C
80
77
-
-
-
M/C
Jyoti RANDHAWA
M/C
80
77
-
-
-
M/C
Ben CRANE
M/C
78
80
-
-
-
M/C
Iain PYMAN
M/C
81
77
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
79
80
-
-
-
M/C
Scott GODFREY
M/C
82
78
-
-
-
M/C
David SMAIL
M/C
77
83
-
-
-
M/C
Philip GOLDING
M/C
83
78
-
-
-
M/C
Malcolm MACKENZIE
M/C
82
79
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
83
78
-
-
-
M/C
Adam LE VESCONTE
M/C
82
80
-
-
-
M/C
Robert COLES
M/C
85
77
-
-
-
M/C
Anthony SPROSTON
M/C
83
80
-
-
-
M/C
Andrew GEORGE
M/C
79
85
-
-
-
M/C
Noboru SUGAI
M/C
83
82
-
-
-
M/C
Toru TANIGUCHI
M/C
82
87
-
-
-
M/C
Charles CHALLEN
M/C
86
87
-
-
-
M/C
Steve ELKINGTON
NR
86
-
-
-
-
M/C
Jerry KELLY
Wd
86
-
-
-
-
M/C
Colin MONTGOMERIE
Scr
-
-
-
-
-
M/C
Paul AZINGER
Scr
-
-
-
-
-
M/C

Latest from the open