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1961 U.S. Open
Recap and Scores for the 1961 U.S. Open Golf Tournament

Gene Littler fired a final-round 68 to overtake Doug Sanders and Bob Goalby and win the 1961 U.S. Open by one stroke.

Littler began the final round three strokes off Sanders' lead. But a balky putter plagued Sanders, and Littler caught him on the 11th hole. Two holes later, Littler had a two-stroke lead. Goalby, meanwhile, was playing steadily in a group ahead of both Littler and Sanders, and posted 282.

When Littler reached his last hole, he needed only a bogey to beat Goalby's clubhouse lead, and that's what he took on the hole. Sanders birdied the 16th to get within one, but missed a birdie putt on the 17th. On the final hole, Sanders' chip just missed going in. He tapped in to finish second, tied with Goalby.

The long-hitting amateur Jack Nicklaus finished tied for fourth with Mike Souchak. It was Nicklaus' second straight Top 4 finish as an amateur; the next year, Nicklaus turned pro and won the 1962 U.S. Open. Souchak never won a major, but his Top 4 finish here was his third straight such finish in a U.S. Open.

Sanders also never won a major, although he came close several more times including a playoff loss to Nicklaus at the 1970 British Open.

His win here proved to be Littler's only major championship among his 29 career PGA Tour wins. Littler later lost playoffs at the 1970 Masters and the 1977 PGA Championship.

Ben Hogan finished tied for 14th. Not counting two years in which he withdrew with illnesses, this was the first time since 1940 Hogan failed to finish in the Top 10 in a U.S. Open in which he played. He played 15 times during that span. Hogan skipped the tournament the following four years before returning for his final two appearances in 1966-67.

1961 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Scores
Results from the 1961 U.S. Open golf tournament played on the par-70 South Course of Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (a-amateur):

Gene Littler 73-68-72-68--281 $14,000
Bob Goalby 70-72-69-71--282 $6,000
Doug Sanders 72-67-71-72--282 $6,000
a-Jack Nicklaus 75-69-70-70--284  
Mike Souchak 73-70-68-73--284 $4,000
Dow Finsterwald 72-71-71-72--286 $2,616
Doug Ford 72-69-71-74--286 $2,616
Eric Monti 74-67-72-73--286 $2,616
Jacky Cupit 72-72-67-76--287 $1,750
Gardner Dickinson 72-69-71-75--287 $1,750
Gary Player 75-72-69-71--287 $1,750
a-Deane Beman 74-72-72-70--288  
Al Geiberger 71-70-73-74--288 $1,250
Dave Douglas 72-72-75-70--289 $900
Ben Hogan 71-72-73-73--289 $900
Arnold Palmer 74-75-70-70--289 $900
Billy Casper 74-71-73-72--290 $625
Dutch Harrison 74-71-76-69--290 $625
Kel Nagle 71-71-74-74--290 $625
Sam Snead 73-70-74-73--290 $625
Bob Rosburg 72-67-74-78--291 $500
Tommy Bolt 70-73-73-76--292 $410
Bob Brue 69-72-73-78--292 $410
Bruce Crampton 71-71-74-76--292 $410
Jim Ferrier 74-72-71-75--292 $410
Billy Maxwell 73-74-72-73--292 $410
Jack Fleck 73-71-79-70--293 $375
Ted Kroll 78-69-73-73--293 $375
a-Edward Brantly 75-70-72-77--294  
Chick Harbert 75-71-69-79--294 $350
Robert Harrison 79-70-71-74--294 $350
Milon Marusic 75-74-71-74--294 $350
Jerry Steelsmith 74-74-72-74--294 $350
Jerry Barber 75-72-76-72--295 $325
Gene Coghill 76-73-74-72--295 $325
Bob Harris 75-67-78-75--295 $325
Herman Scharlau 75-69-73-78--295 $325
Jim Ferree 73-72-78-73--296 $312
Marty Furgol 71-73-76-76--296 $312
Wes Ellis 74-72-74-77--297 $300
Joe Taylor 76-71-74-76--297 $300
Billy Farrell 76-71-77-74--298 $300
a-Bill Hyndman 73-75-73-77--298  
Dick Mayer 75-73-75-75--298 $300
Doug Higgins 76-73-75-75--299 $275
Mason Rudolph 78-70-72-79--299 $275
Robert Shave Jr. 73-75-74-77--299 $275
Frank Stranahan 73-76-76-74--299 $275
Jay Hebert 77-71-77-75--300 $275
a-Edward Meister Jr. 78-71-75-76--300  
Rex Baxter 71-78-75-77--301 $250
Bob Bruno 78-71-77-75--301 $250
Dave Hill 76-71-75-79--301 $250
Jackson Bradley 75-73-78-76--302 $250
Paul Harney 71-77-75-81--304 $250
Charles Malchaski 76-73-77-78--304 $250
Jack Lumpkin 73-76-81-79--309 $250

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