But condensations kill. What is missing is everything that happened after four o'clock. The part about Mike Souchak losing the lead for the first time only after he bogeyed the 9th hole. The part about Nicklaus blowing the lead he held all by himself when he took three ghastly putts from only 10 feet at the 13th. This was the first real indication that they were all coming back to Palmer now, for Nicklaus's bogey dropped him into a four-way tie with Palmer, Boros and Fleck.
But so much more is still missing. Nicklaus's inexperience as a young amateur cost him another three-putt bogey at the 14th hole, and so, as suddenly as he had grabbed the lead, he was out of it. Then it was around 4:45, and Palmer was sharing the lead with Hogan and Fleck, at four under. But like Nicklaus, Fleck would leave it on the greens. Boros had started leaving it on the greens and in the bunkers somewhat earlier. He was trapped at the 14th and the 18th, and in between he blew a three-footer. In the midst of all this Palmer was playing a steady back side of one birdie and eight pars on the way to his 65. And until the last two holes of the championship, the only man who had performed more steadily than Palmer, or seemed to be enduring the Open stress with as much steel as he, was—no surprise—Ben Hogan.
It was close to 5:30 when Hogan and Palmer were alone at four under in the championship, and the two of them, along with everybody else—literally everyone on the golf course—had wound upon the 17th hole, the 71st of the tournament.
The 17th at Cherry Hills is a long, straightaway par-5, 548 yards, with a green fronted by an evil pond. In 1960 it was a drive, a layup and a pitch. And there they all were. Hogan and Nicklaus contemplating their pitch shots as the twosome of Boros and Player waited to hit their second shots, while the two-some of Palmer and Paul Harney stood back on the tee.
Hogan was faced with a delicate shot of about 50 yards to a pin that was sitting altogether too close to the water for him to try anything risky. Ben had hit 34 straight greens in regulation that Saturday. He needed only a par-par finish for a 69, which would have been his third consecutive subpar round in the tournament. He had to think this might be his last real chance to capture another Open. And nobody understood better than Hogan what it meant to reach the clubhouse first with a good score in a major championship.
Armed with this expertise as I knelt in the rough and watched Hogan address the shot, I brilliantly whispered to Drum:
"He probably thinks he needs another birdie with Arnold behind him, but I'll guarantee you, Ben'll be over the water." At which point Hogan hit the ball in the water.
He made a bogey 6. And in trying to erase that blunder on the 18th with a huge drive, which might produce a birdie, he hooked his tee shot into the lake and suffered a triple-bogey 7. Only 30 minutes after he had been a co-leader with just two holes to go, Hogan finished in a tie for ninth place, four strokes away.
Second place then was left to the 20-year-old with the crew cut, and Nicklaus's score of 282 remains the lowest total ever posted by an amateur in the Open.
All in all, these were tremendous performances by an aging Hogan and a young Nicklaus. The two of them had come the closest to surviving Palmer's shock waves.