The Biggest Comebacks in Golf History

Winning golf tournaments is no easy matter. No lead is ever big enough going into the final round. We have seen some remarkable final rounds this year on both the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, and it got us thinking about the greatest comebacks in the history of our sport.

Here are 10 of the best…

1999 Open Championship – 10 shots

Paul Lawrie began the final of The Open at Carnoustie in 1999 trailing 54-hole leader Jean Van de Velde by 10 shots. The Scot fired a magnificent final round of 67 but Van de Velde came to the final hole needing a six to win. He took seven blows to finish level with Lawrie and American Justin Leonard. Lawrie won the four-hole playoff to complete the greatest comeback the game has ever seen.

2015 Abu Dhabi Championship – 10 shots

Martin Kaymer was 10 shots clear with just 13 holes left to play in the final round of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Championship. And then the wheels came off. In spectacular fashion. He dropped six shots in seven holes around the turn and, all of a sudden, had been caught by Gary Stal, who shot a 65. Kaymer recorded a final round of 75 and ended up in third place – and has not won since. “I am a little shocked, surprised,” Kaymer said. “I don’t know how to put it into words.”

1964 Tall City Open – 10 shots

The Tall City Open was played in Midland, Texas, from 1964 until 1968 and Mickey Wright won it twice, In 1964 she began the final round 10 strokes off the lead. She finished it with the victory. A round of 62 — the lowest 18-hole score in LPGA history to that point — was the key.

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2001 Office Depot – 10 shots

Pat Hurst was the leader going into the final round, with Swedish legend Annika Sorenstam 10 strokes adrift. Hurst shot a dreadful 77 while Sorenstam fired a 66. Mi Hyun Kim began the final round 11 strokes back of the leader, shot 65, and tied Sorenstam. Kim would hold the record for the biggest LPGA Tour comeback had she won that playoff, but Sorenstam came out on top.

2008 MasterCard Classic – 10 shots

The leader entering the final round was Ji Young Oh. Louise Friberg began the day 10 strokes behind Oh. But Friberg scored a wonderful 65, while Oh crashed to a 79. Friberg won by one stroke over runner-up Yani Tseng. It was her only win on the LPGA Tour.

2004 MCI Heritage Classic – nine shots

Stewart Cink was nine behind Ted Purdy at the start of the final round, then shot 64 to Purdy’s 73. Cink won the playoff. This is the largest non-major comeback win in PGA Tour history, and the best comeback in PGA Tour history.

2017 WGC HSBC Champions – eight shots

Dustin Johnson has a history for throwing away big leads and he did so once again at the HSBC Champions. He stumbled to a final round of 77 while England’s Justin Rose rocketed through the field to win thanks to a final round of 67.

2012 Phoenix Open – eight shots

Spencer Levin seemed to have the tournament at his mercy until he shot a final round of 75. Kyle Stanley recorded a glorious 65 to beat Ben Crane by a stroke. Levin finished third. A week earlier, Stanley had triple-bogeyed the final hole to lose the Farmers Insurance Open.

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1956 Masters – eight shots

We have seen some dramatic collapses at Augusta but nothing tops that of Ken Venturi. Still an amateur, he led the field by four and Jack Burke by eight after three rounds. Burke shot a 71, while Venturi had a nightmare day, signing for an 80. Burke would claim the Green Jacket by a single shot.

1959 Los Angeles Open – eight shots

Redemption day for Ken Venturi. Art Wall led the way after 54 holes and closed the tournament with a 73. Venturi produced one of the best rounds of his career, shooting a magnificent 63 to win by a stroke.

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