Golf

US Open countdown: Late charge in playoff lifts Loyd Magrum to Open title

46th U.S. Open | June 12-16, 1946

Canterbury Golf Club, Beachwood, Ohio

Leaderboard

x-Lloyd Mangrum, United States 74 - 70 - 68 - 72 284
Vic Ghezzi, United States 71 - 69 - 72 - 72 284
Byron Nelson, United States 71 - 71 - 69 - 73 284
Ben Hogan, United States 72 - 68 - 73 - 72 285
Herman Barron, United States 72 - 72 - 72 - 69 285
x-won in playoff

With a smooth swing and rock-hard fortitude, Lloyd Mangrum outlasted Vic Ghezzi and Byron Nelson in two separate 18-hole playoff rounds to win his only major title.

Born in Trenton, Texas, Mangrum became an assistant club professional at 15 to help out older brother Ray, who was the head professional at Cliff-Dale Country Club in Dallas. Eight years later, he started on the PGA Tour — and won 36 times.

When World War II started, the U.S. Open was suspended for five years. Mangrum, a slightly built man, enlisted in the U.S. Army even though he could have avoided it by taking a head professional job in Maryland. But he declined the offer.

Mangrum served for three years, and was a corporal. A jeep accident in Europe led to his discharge, leaving him in the hospital for several weeks with broken bones. He stayed in a body cast for an extended period.

Six months later, Mangrum — who won a pair of tune-up tournaments in Europe — entered the U.S. Open. In the final round, it was Nelson who held a two-shot lead with three holes remaining, but he finished with back-to-back bogeys to produce the three-way tie.

Mangrum, Ghezzi — who also enlisted in the Army in 1941 — and Nelson all finished the first 18-hole playoff at 72.

When the second playoff began, Ghezzi and Nelson grabbed a two-stroke advantage after nine holes, both going out in 2-under 34.

But the steady Mangrum, nicknamed “Mr. Icicle” for his calm demeanor, birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th holes to pick up four shots on both men.

With a one-shot lead over Ghezzi on the finishing hole, Mangrum failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker, leading to bogey. Ghezzi could have tied him, but missed a 5-foot putt for par.

Mangrum also held the single-round Masters scoring record when he opened the 1940 tournament with an 8-under 64. It stood for 46 years, until Nick Price shot a 63 in the third round in 1986.

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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