NEW YORK TIMES-1951
BIRMINGHAM, Mich.-Ben Hogan is still the champion. In another great comeback, the little Texan retained the United States Open golf title by closing with a 67 at the enormously difficult Oakland Hills Country Club to finish with a 72- hole aggregate of 287. Trailing the leader, Bobby Locke of South Africa, at the end of the second round yesterday by five strokes and co-leaders Locke and Jimmy Demaret after the third this morning by two, Hogan won in a smashing finale by two strokes.
With a large sector of the record crowd of 17,500 hemming in the eighteenth green to view another phase of his courageous bid to keep the crown, Hogan rolled in a 14-foot putt for a concluding birdie 3. Surrounded by a cordon of police he made his way to the clubhouse amid the cheers of the spectators who had witnessed another stirring chapter in the golfing story of Hogan. Then Hogan, the man who returned to the game after an almost fatal accident in 1949 to triumph in the historic play-off at Merion a year ago in one of the greatest of all sports comebacks, had to wait 1 hour and 45 minutes before he knew his claim on the trophy was secure.
Until Hogan did the trick, no one among the 162 who started play here in the opening round had been able to beat the controversial par 70 of the course. “Under the circumstances,” stated Hogan as he sat in the locker room patiently awaiting the latest news of Locke’s progress, “it was the greatest round I have played. I didn’t think I could do it. My friends said last night that I might win with a pair of 69’s. It seemed too much on this course. It is the hardest course I have ever played. I haven’t played all the courses in the world, but I don’t want to, especially if there are any that are tougher than this one.”
He started Thursday with a 75, a bit ruffled by his failure to solve the course. Neither was he satisfied yesterday with a 73, nor this morning with a 71. He blamed himself for overclubbing, for making mistakes. “I guess all of the boys are making more,” he confessed.
But the 71 this morning was something in the way of an inspiration for the thrill-hungry crowd. All week they had heard reports of or seen for themselves the narrow fairways with strategically placed traps, the greens of rolling contours and two par-4 holes that many thought should have been rated at 5. And no one was under par! Hogan changed this attitude completely as he played the first nine in 32. Hogan seemed determined to “beat” the course. He looked grim. He was concentrating. In fact, on the final putt for the 67, he stood over the ball at least 30 seconds before stroking. He wanted to do his best and he did.