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Miler Barber, 51, of Sherman, Texas, shot 65 in the fourth round and won the Senior Open Championship, played at the Portland Golf Club, in Portland, Ore. The first-round leaders were a pair of club pros, Ken Towns, from Graeagle, Calif., and Joe Jimenez, of Jefferson City, Mo., with even par 71s. Barber was one back at 72, along with former Masters winner Bob Goalby, Freddie Haas and Art Silvestrone.
Former U.S. Open Champion Gene Littler took the 36-hole lead at 142. Goalby was one behind at 143, along with Gay Brewer, former Masters winner. Dan Sikes was at 144, along with defending champion Arnold Palmer. Towns remained in contention with 145, but Jimenez played his way out of the picture with 78, for 149. Sikes posted a 72 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead at 216. One back was Barber, who fired the day's lowest round, 71; Goalby, who slipped to 74; Palmer, who posted 73; and Towns, who carded 72. Littler shot 76 and was next, at 218, along with Brewer, who could only manage 75.
The final round belonged to Barber. His 65 was the lowest round of the week by three strokes. His score for 72 holes was 282, the only score under par. Littler shot 68 and tied for second, with Sikes, who had 70, at 286. Goalby had 72 and finished at 289, followed by Brewer and Palmer, at 291. Palmer trailed Barber by three strokes after making a birdie on the 13th hole, but Barber birdied the 14th and 16th to pick up six strokes on Palmer, who bogeyed the 14th and 15th and double-bogeyed the 16th. Towns finished seventh at 292 after a 75, followed by Charles Sifford, who used a final-round 69 to finish at 293.
Barber's 282 established a new championship record. Roberto De Vicenzo set the previous mark of 285 in the first Senior Open, at Winged Foot Golf Club (East Course), in 1980. Barber's final-round 65 also set by three shots a championship record for lowest 18-hole score.
In addition, another championship record was set as seven sub-par rounds were recorded. Forty-six professionals and four amateurs made the 36-hole cut at 154, 12 over par. A total of $150,033 in prize money was awarded. The USGA received 665 entries, down from 743 the year before, but up from 631 the year before.
Starts - 19
Champion Year - 1982, '84 & '85
Rds - 68
Cuts Made - 15
Top 3 - 4
Top 5 - 4
Top 10 - 8
Top 25 - 11
Avg. - 73.12
Scores In 60s - 7
Rds. Under Par - 16
Earnings - $196,631.02