Par-5 closing holes at U.S. Opens are rare, but they provide spectacular finishes

May 31, 2017

Par-5 closing holes at the U.S. Open are rare, but as we’ll see at Erin Hills—where the 637-yard 18th awaits—they produce high drama. Here are memorable Open moments from par-5 finishers.

Chicago Golf Club, 1911

At just 19, John McDermott became the first American-born (and still the youngest) U.S. Open champion when he hit a second-shot approach to 10 feet to defeat Mike Brady by two strokes (and George Simpson by six) in an 18-hole playoff.

Skokie Country Club, 1922

A two-putt birdie on the 72nd hole proved decisive as Gene Sarazen captured the first of his seven major titles, edging by a shot John Black and young Bobby Jones, both of whom also birdied the closing hole.​

Scioto Country Club, 1926

Jones knocked his second shot with a mashie to 15 feet on the final hole, and a two-putt birdie gave him a one-stroke win over Joe Turnesa. Jones became the first player to win the U.S. Open and the Open Championship in the same year.

Olympia Fields Country Club (No. 4), 1928*

Johnny Farrell drained a 7-footer for birdie (after being distracted by photographers) to nip Jones (who also made a 4) by a stroke in the duo’s 36-hole playoff duel.​

Philadelphia Country Club (Spring Mill), 1939**

Sam Snead reached the 72nd hole mistakenly thinking he needed birdie to beat Byron Nelson. Playing aggressively, he found two bunkers, made a triple-bogey—and would never win a U.S. Open.

Baltusrol Golf Club, 1954

Ed Furgol’s scrambling par—he played his second from the trees up the 18th hole of Baltusrol’s adjoining course, the Upper—gave him his only major triumph. He won by a shot over Gene Littler, who missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the hole that would have tied Furgol.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, 2000

Tiger Woods parred the final hole to cap a bogey-free Sunday 67 and a record 15-stroke major-championship victory. It remains the most dominant win in Woods’s 14-major collection.

Torrey Pines Golf Club, 2008

Playing with a double stress fracture in his left tibia, Woods holed one of golf’s most famous putts—a 12-footer for birdie—on the final hole of regulation to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate, which Tiger won in 19 holes.

Chambers Bay Golf Club, 2015***

Dustin Johnson’s 72nd hole three-putt from 12 feet handed Jordan Spieth his first U.S. Open championship.

*Course now known as North

**Course routing and hole numbers have since been reconfigured

***The 18th hole played as a shortened par-4 for the second round