Golf

US Open countdown: Sarazen breaks records on his way to second title in 1932 — 10 years after first

36th U.S. Open | June 23-25, 1932

Fresh Meadow Country Club, Flushing, N.Y.

Leaderboard

Leaderboard

Gene Sarazen, United States 74 - 76 - 70 - 66 286
Bobby Cruickshank, Scotland 78 - 74 - 69 - 68 289
Philip Perkins, England 76 - 69 - 74 - 70 289
Leo Diegel, United States 73 - 74 - 73 - 74 294
Wiffy Cox, United States 80 - 73 - 70 - 72 295

Ten years after becoming the youngest man (at 20) to win a major championship at the 1922 U.S. Open, Sarazen won it again — this time with a record performance on a layout he knew better than most professionals.

Previously the club professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club (1925-30), Sarazen not only set a course record with his final-round 66, it was also a single-round U.S. Open mark, eclipsing the 67 that Willie MacFarlane shot in 1925 at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts.

In fact, no U.S. Open champion fired a better final-round score for the next 28 years — until Arnold Palmer closed with a 65 to win in 1960 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado.

In most years, Cruickshank and Perkins, the hard-luck runners-up, would have won the U.S. Open title with a 289 total. Cruickshank also became the first golfer to post successive rounds in the 60s at a U.S. Open (69-68).

It wasn’t enough to stymie Sarazen, who finished the back nine of his third round in 3 under par, then went out in 4 under over the first nine holes of his final round to seize control.

Professionals were quick to attribute the lower scoring to one vital change — the USGA’s first standardization of the golf ball, which had to weigh 1.62 ounces and be 1.68 inches in diameter.

New golf ball companies came to the forefront, especially Acushnet, which began making Titleist golf balls that same year.

Sarazen played flawlessly that final day. He tied Chick Evans’ 1916 tournament scoring mark of 286. And his 136 total over the final 36 holes stood as a U.S. Open record until Larry Nelson shot rounds of 65 and 67 to win the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.

Also, four-time major champion “Long” Jim Barnes, a former Tacoma Country and Golf Club professional, played in his final major at this U.S. Open, tying for 55th place.

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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