EDITOR’S NOTE: Arnold Palmer first played the British Open in 1960, and it was on his journey to St. Andrews that he proposed the modern concept of the Grand Slam – winning all four professional majors in the same year. It was a different era. Even though Palmer had won the Masters and U.S. Open, he still had to go through 36 holes of qualifying to get into the British Open. Everyone had to qualify – even Gary Player, the defending champion, as noted in this story about the first day of qualifying.
Palmer would make it easily into the field. But his bid for a third straight major stalled. He was seven shots behind going into the 36-hole final day (played on a Friday back then). He was four shots behind Kel Nagle of Australia going into the afternoon round, only for a massive rain storm to postpone it until Saturday. Palmer felt he lost his momentum, and he finished one shot behind Nagle.
Fifty-five years later, the AP is making a version of the story of the tournament and photos available.
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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) Arnold Palmer carded a 5-under-par 67 and aging Gene Sarazen a 69 today in the first qualifying round of the centenary British open golf championship. The courses at St. Andrews took their worst beating ever.
Peter Alliss, a cherub-faced Englishman, led the field with a 66 over the famed Old Course. It was the best competitive round ever played over the 6,996 yards of heather and gorse beside the North Sea.
Palmer, inspired by the arrival of his father from Latrobe, Pa., posted a 32 on the incoming nine of the New Course for a 67. That was matched by Gary Player, the young defending champion from South Africa.
Sarazen is 58 years old, but his hair is as jet black and his legs as bouncy as when he won this championship in 1932. He shot his fine round over the Old Course, driving the ball like a rifle shot and sinking two putts of 20 feet each.
”I’m getting ideas again,” Sarazen said with a wink as he walked off the eighteenth green, a broad smile creasing his face.
It was the first time Sarazen had broken 70 at St. Andrews.
Sarazen shared the 69 bracket with a dozen or so others, including Peter Thomson of Australia. Thomson, a four-time British open winner, played the New Course casually. He is a 7 -2 favorite this time.
Carr Posts 68
There were five at 68, including Joe Carr of Ireland, the British amateur champion, and such Ryder Cup stars as Eric Brown of Scotland, Christy O’Connor of Ireland and Ken Bousfield of England.
The second and last qualifying round is scheduled for tomorrow, with the players shifting courses. The original field of 388 will be cut to the low 100 scorers for the championship proper, beginning over the Old Course on Wednesday.
One of every six in the record field either equaled or bettered par. Playing conditions were ideal.
The New Course, which measures 6,526 yards, has a par of 72. The Old Course has a 73 par. The natives said the New Course played tougher than the Old.
Palmer, seeking to add to his Masters and United States Open championships, played well within himself.
He used a No. 1 iron instead of a driver off the tee on all but three of the holes where a driver normally is used. He went for the fat part of the greens instead of the pin.
At the first he almost holed out his second shot, but the ball sped 5 feet past and he missed the putt coming back. Never going over par, Palmer turned in 35. He sank a 6-foot birdie putt at the eleventh and knocked his approach dead to the pin at the twelfth.
The AP Corporate Archives contributed to this report.