Calcavecchia denies a charging Norman

Seven years later, it was left to a pair of Australians and an American to decide who would win the first-ever four-hole play-off to be used in the Open Championship.

The distinguished likes of Nick Faldo, winner at Muirfield two years earlier, two-time champion Lee Trevino, Fred Couples and Paul Azinger all started strongly – but Jersey’s Wayne Stephens led the way with a 66.

Wayne Grady and Payne Stewart shared the halfway lead as the British challenge subsided, with the honourable exception of Faldo.

Greg Norman and Tom Watson were among those lurking dangerously in the pack.

Ahead of the final round, Grady led by one from Watson but ahead of them the picture was changing.

Norman began the final round with six successive birdies in a trademark charge. His closing 64 was not quite good enough to beat Calcavecchia and Grady, with the latter left to rue a costly bogey at the short 17th.

Calcavecchia, by contrast, could thank a long par-saving putt at the 11th and then an outrageous chip in at the 12th, the ball flying down the stick on the full. Further birdies would follow at the 16th and then on the last hole of regulation play.

In the play-off, Norman began with two birdies – one clear of Calcavecchia. He made bogey at the 17th leaving the two men tied. After Calcavecchia had found the rough, Norman unleashed a drive that reached a bunker he considered out of play. The American hit the shot of his life with a 5-iron to seven feet while Norman was only able to hit from one bunker to another. 

Calcavecchia was the champion and he said afterwards: “I will remember Royal Troon in 1989 as the place and the time when the course, the weather and my game all came together for one glorious week.”

Leaderboard

Player Score
M. Calcavecchia 275
W. Grady 275
G. Norman 275
T. Watson 277
J. Mudd 278
F. Couples 279
D. Feherty 279
P. Azinger 280
P. Stewart 280
E. Romero 280
N. Faldo 281
M. McNulty 281
R. Chapman 282
S. Pate 282
P. Walton 282
H. Clark 282
C. Stadler 282
M. James 282
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