Compleat Golfer looks back at three occasions when a South African contended late at the US Open, only to be thwarted with the Wanamaker Trophy within touching distance.
Gary Player was making his US Open debut at the age of 22 and finished alone as the runner-up to Tommy Bolt, albeit four shots adrift, at Southern Hills CC.
Player, then 43, finished in a tie for second place, two shots behind Hale Irwin, at Inverness Club. Player closed with a 72 for a two-over total, with Irwin winning on level-par 284.
Louis Oosthuizen opened with a 77 on the notorious Chambers Bay course, but over the next three rounds he charged up the leaderboard. His second-round 66 was matched by the same score in the third round, and he closed with a 67 for a tie for second place, one stroke behind Jordan Spieth. Oosthuizen’s final three rounds of 199 are a record (shared with Rory McIlroy) for 54 holes in a US Open.
At the same event, Branden Grace missed his chance to join golfing greatness when he hit his tee shot on 16 out of bounds in the final round. It was an uncharacteristic swing from the then co-leader.