Gary Player, 51, shot rounds of 69-68-67-66-270 to win the Senior Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn. Player's record total of 270 was nine strokes better than the previous record of 279 set by Dale Douglass in 1986. Player became the third golfer, along with Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper, to win the U.S. Open and the Senior Open. Player won the U.S. Open in 1965.
Gordon Jones, who posted seven birdies during an eight-hole stretch, and Peter Thomson shared the opening-round lead at 66, 5 under par. John Brodie was one stroke behind at 67. Four golfers -- Gene Borek, Larry Mowry, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Doug Sanders -- were two strokes behind at 68. Rodriguez's second 68 gave him the 36-hole lead by one stroke over Brodie and Player, who stood at 137. Arnold Palmer was two strokes behind Rodriguez after shooting rounds of 69-69-138.
Sixty-three players, including 10 amateurs, survived the 36-hole cut at 149. Player caught Rodriguez when he birdied the 17th hole of the third round, and he took a two-stroke advantage when Rodriguez bogeyed the 18th. Player's 54-hole total of 204 was five better than Bob Charles and Dan Massengale, who shared third place at 209. Player recorded four birdies in the first eight holes of the final round, extending his lead to four strokes, and he never looked back on his way to a final round 66. Doug Sanders posted a 65 to finish in second place, six strokes behind Player and one stroke ahead of Rodriguez, who shot 71.
The six-stroke margin of victory was the largest in Senior Open history. Dennis Iden, a reinstated amateur from Seal Beach, California, was the low amateur at 8-over-par 292. The USGA accepted a record 1,277 entries for the championship.