1964: Tony Lema wins the Thunderbird Classic over Mike Souchak by 1 stroke

Tony Lema

Tony Lema wins the Thunderbird Classic

On this day, In 1964 Champagne Tony Lema won the Thunderbird Classic at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.  He had rolled in birdie putts at the last two holes to score a 71 for a 12‐under‐par 276. Lema collected $20,000 of the $100,000 Thunderbird purse for his 6th PGA win.

A closing duel over the final 11 holes with Mike Souchak before a gallery of 19,639 was the main attraction. For in this stretch, Souchak, who finished second at 277, had made up seven strokes in seven holes and taken the lead by one stroke with four holes to go.  This put major pressure on Lema, whose friends were already rolling cases of bubbling wine into the Westchester Country Club for the celebration.

Lema birdied the 18th hole by hitting two great woods then wedging it close while Souchak missed the green short between bunkers.  Lema made a 8 foot birdie putt in the rain to put his opponent away and win the Thunderbird title.  Champagne was provided for all.

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