1946: Lloyd Mangrum, recipient of two purple hearts, wins the first U.S. Open held after WWII

Lloyd Mangrum

Lloyd Mangrum, recipient of two purple hearts, wins the U.S. Open 

On this day, In 1946 Lloyd Mangrum won the 46th United States Open in a 36 hole playoff over Byron Nelson and Vic Ghezzi at Canterbury Golf Club.  Fittingly, this was the first U.S. Open played since 1941 due to World War II, which Mangrum himself saw action in and received two purple hearts in the process.  Mangrum, winner 42 times on the PGA Tour, is often the “forgotten man” among other players in his era like Ben Hogan, Bryon Nelson, &  Sam Snead.  Although only 12 golfers have more PGA Tour wins than Mangrum, he will forever be remembered for battling it out for this sole major victory.

Many think that the 1946 U.S. Open should have been Byron Nelson’s tournament.  On the Saturday morning third round he shot a smooth, three under par 69 even after his caddie accidentally kicked his ball and he was penalized a stroke.  In the afternoon, Nelson did not display the same flair and settled with a one over, 73 …good enough for the playoff.

The 36 hole playoff

During the playoff, all three players shot even-par 72 during the first 18 holes on Sunday morning, which forced another 18-hole playoff in the afternoon.  Mangrum nearly lost it in the second 18-hole playoff after losing a tee shot, but recovered by making an incredible 70-foot bogey putt.

Nelson and Ghezzi were tied after nine holes, with Mangrum two back. But Mangrum then rolled in two birdies, while Nelson bogeyed 13 and Ghezzi recorded bogeys at 14 and 15. Mangrum took a two-stroke lead with a birdie at 16, and despite a bogey-bogey finish, his 72 was good enough to hold off Nelson and Ghezzi by a stroke

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