Not for 18 years, since Max Faulkner at Royal Portrush, had there been a British winner of The Open but Tony Jacklin proved the man to break the drought.
The 25-year-old from Scunthorpe had already won in America, was fifth at the 1967 Open and now sealed a two-stroke victory over Bob Charles.
Charles had won the previous Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1963 and picked up where he left off with an opening 66. Jacklin had made four birdies in his first six holes in a 68 and after twin rounds of 70, to the New Zealander’s 69 and 75, the Englishman was two strokes ahead.
There was a great sense of anticipation surrounding the final round, which only grew when Charles bogeyed the first hole. Jacklin’s lead soon grew to four and despite three dropped shots on the back nine, including at the 17th, his lead was still two strokes on the final tee.
Jacklin produced a magnificent drive, the ball bounding down the middle of the fairway well past all the trouble. “What a corker,” gasped Henry Longhurst on television.
After a fine approach shot, the tension finally broke. Jacklin was mobbed by the spectators running down the fairway and his shoe came off in the scrum but he had composed himself enough to two-putt for his par.
A closing 72 left him on a four-under-par total of 280. Charles was the runner-up for the second year running, one ahead of former Champions Peter Thomson and Roberto de Vicenzo.Christy O’Connor Snr, who produced the lowest round of the week with a 65 on the second day, was fifth and Davis Love Jnr, father of Davis Love III, was sixth alongside Jack Nicklaus. Without doubt, however, it was the day that Jacklin restored pride in British golf.