Revisiting Arnold Palmer’s 7 Major Wins

Arnold Palmer won seven Major championships in his career, good for seventh-place on the all-time list.

To honor his remarkable life in golf, which ended Sunday at age 87, here’s a look back at his seven big triumphs.

1958 Masters: Palmer was 28 by the tie he won his first Major, positively ancient compared to the modern likes of Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. He was 2-under after one round, two shots behind the leader. He fell back to three strokes short of the lead through 36, but rallied with a 68 on Saturday to tie 45-year-old Sam Snead for the lead at 5-under. His final round wasn’t pretty, a 1-over 73, but Snead shot a 79 and he eked out the 1-stroke win, earning a cool$11,250 ($93,000 in 2016 dollars).

1960 Masters: In as dramatic a finish as you can get, Palmer birdies his final two holes to defeat Ken Venturi by a single stroke. There was controversy to be sure as Dow Finsterwald, who finished two strokes behind Palmer, took a two-stroke penalty for practicing putting on the green after the conclusion of a hole. It was a wire-to-wire win for Palmer, just the second in Masters history (Craig Wood, 1941). He set the pace early with a 5-under 67 on Thursday. His lead was one at the end of Days Two and Three, but things changed on Sunday. He bogeyed No. 3 while Venturi birded 2 and 3 to give the latter a one-stroke lead. Palmer bogeyed No. 5 and Venturi birdied No. 6 to go ahead three strokes with 12 holes to play.Palmer closed within two on a birdie on No 8 and within one on Venturi’s bogey on No. 11. Both men made five straight pars before Palmer’s two birdies to win it.

1960 US Open: It was the greatest comeback in tournament history. Through 54 holes, Palmer was 2-over putting him in 15th place and seven strokes behind  American Mike Souchak for the lead. But Palmer exploded out of the gate with birdies on 1-4 to move to 2-under, then two more on 6 and 7 to reach 4-under. He cooled off with a bogey on eight but made the stroke up with another birdie on 11. Souchak fell back with a 75 and the only challenge was made by an amateur named Jack Nicklaus, who finished two strokes back at 2-under.

1961 Open Championship: The first two rounds were pretty brutal in Southport at the Royal Birkdale;only four players were under par, including Palmer, tied for second at 1-under. He shot a 69 on Saturday to take a 1-stroke lead over Wales’ Dai Rees, and held it as both men shot Sunday 72s.

1962 Masters: Like clockwork, Palmer won his third Masters in two year intervals.  It was a masterful three-way playoff between Palmer, defending champion Gary Player, and Dow Findsterwald, who had won the 1958 PGA Championship. Played was 5-under through 18 holes, but Palmer shot a second-round 66 to reach 8-under at the midway point. He got to 11-under through 54, but Finsterwald’s 65 saw him just two strokes back, with Player at 7-under. Palmer looked ready for a full-tilt meltdown on Sunday. He was 3-over on the front nine to hit the turn at 8-under, tied for the lead with the red-hot Player and Finsterwald. When he double-bogeyed No 10 he was two shots back of the lead, and fell three shots back when Finsterwald birdied No. 13.

Player was the most consistent, parring the final six holes to reach the clubhouse at 8-under.Palmer birdied 16 and 17 to reach 8-under, and Finsterwald bogeyed No. 17 to sit at eight as well. The Monday playoff was another 18 holes, and it was clear that Finsterwald had left it all out there on Sunday. He was 4-over at the turn and finished 5-over. Player started hot, birdying his first two holes, and led Palmer by three strokes at the turn. He bogeyed 10 while Palmer birdied it to see the stroke drop to one. Things changed on the 12th as Palmer birdied and Player bogeyed; suddenly Palmer had the lead. He took it and ran, birdying three of the next four holes while Player couldn’t match. Palmer finished 4-under and won by three strokes.

1964 Masters: Four Masters in eight years, one every other year. Yep, it happened. Palmer was 34 by then, and one of five players, including Davis Love Jr. and Gary Player, tied for first place at 3-under after one day. His second-day 68 put hi up four strokes over Player. By the end of Saturday he was 10-under and commanded a five-stroke lead with three straight sub-70 scores. In the end, it was one of the biggest blowouts in Majors history, a 6-stroke victory as Palmer went 12-under.

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