1947: Sam Snead misses 30 in putt on final hole, Lew Worsham wins the U.S. Open

Lew Worsham
Sam Snead watching officials measure who is away on the final hole at St. Louis Country Club.

Lew Worsham wins the 1947 U.S. Open at St. Louis Country Club

On this day, In 1947 Sam Snead was denied yet another U.S. Open title as he let it slip through his fingers on the closing holes.  He was able to position himself atop of the leaderboard after putting together rounds of 72, 70, 70,70 for a total of 282.  That was good enough to get into the Sunday 18 hole playoff with Oakmont pro Lew Worsham also at 282.

During the playoff, Snead had birdies on the first & fifth holes only to sink back to even after a double on the sixth. Worsham got off to a steady start as he par’d the first eight holes of the before trading a bogey & birdie on the last two holes of the nine.  Both players birdied the 10th hole leaving Snead at -2 and Worsham at -1.  It looked like Snead had put the pressure on after a birdie on 13 and in turn Worsham produced a bogey on 15, … the lead was now 2.

Worsham birdied the par-3 16th and Snead bogeyed 17 after he missed the fairway and overshot the green from the rough. The playoff was all-even at the tee of the 90th hole, a par-4 of 419 yards. Both players put lengthy drives in the fairway, and Snead’s approach shot stopped pin-high and 15 feet left of the hole. Worsham went over the green 40 feet  feet past the cup. His downhill chip hit the hole and rimmed out to 29 inches.  Snead proceeded with his putt, a putt that could of won him the tournament outright.

Unfortunately nerves even get the best of champions as he left it well short.  Snead had planned on putting out until Worsham called for an official to determine who was further away. With a tape measure, it was determined that it remained Snead’s turn, who was is quoted in the video below “so mad he couldn’t see straight”  with the unnecessary interruption and delay. Snead missed the 30.5-inch putt. Worsham then rolled in his par-saving putt for a 69 and the championship.  Worsham received $2,500 plus a $500 bonus for the victory, Snead took home $2,000. For Snead, it was his second of four career runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open

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