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1978: Gary Player wins third Masters with Sunday 64

March 23, 2012 - 8:06 pm
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1978 Masters

 PlayerFR1R2R3R4 Earn.
1Gary Player-1172726964 $45,000
2Rod Funseth-1073667069 $21,667
2Hubert Green-1072696572 $21,667
2Tom Watson-1073686869 $21,667
5Wally Armstrong-872707068 $11,750
5Bill Kratzert-870746769 $11,750
7Jack Nicklaus-772736967 $10,000
8Hale Irwin-673677171 $8,500
9David Graham-575696772 $6,750
9Joe Inman-569737269 $6,750

 

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Gary Player's final victory at Augusta National Golf Club was his least likely and most spectacular.

The South African found himself trailing Hubert Green by seven shots going into the final day of the 1978 Masters. But seven birdies over the final 10 holes - including a clutch 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th - gave Player a closing 64 and a one-stroke victory.

"One of the things I am is an eternal optimist," Player said. "I was playing excellent golf, and I hadn't made any putts. But you have to keep on aiming at them."

Playing well ahead of Green and a slew of other contenders, Player posted his 277 total and then had to sweat it out as Green, Tom Watson and Rod Funseth played the final holes.

"It was agony, sheer agony," he said.

Green had the best shot at forcing a playoff after hitting his approach about four feet from the pin, but he missed the sidehill birdie putt, falling into a tie for second with Watson and Funseth.

Player's final-round 64 matched the course record at the time and made him the oldest winner at 42, a mark eclipsed by Jack Nicklaus in 1986.
 

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