01 Mar 1976 – Open Championship
In the sizzling summer of 1976, the passage of five years brought another two-man battle, settled only by a great last round of 66. In heatwave conditions, which saw fire break out on the course, Johnny Miller won by the widest Birkdale margin of six shots from Jack Nicklaus and a young Spaniard named Severiano Ballesteros, aged just 19.
Seve was the joint leader after round one, clear leader by two shots in round two, and still two ahead after the third. It was at this tournament Seve played one of the most iconic Royal Birkdale shots when he played an almost impossible bump and run between the bunkers on the 18th to within two feet of the hole.
Youth understandably faltered at the last hurdle. The swashbuckling Miller went out in 33, birdied the 12th, eagled the 13th, and finished with a flourish with two more birdies. Ballesteros could not sustain the challenge in the telling final run-in. Ballesteros could only manage a 74, but this was just the start of what would be an illustrious Open career.
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