Two days later Nicklaus hit a shot that golfers will be talking about for years. After going two under par with a birdie on the 15th, Nicklaus hooked his drive at the 16th into the rough on the left. This hole is 445 yards long and the green is fronted by a gully some 120 yards wide that is filled with sand and tall, brushy Scotch broom. A mass of trees along the side of the fairway blocked his approach to the green, so Nicklaus, using an eight-iron, hit the ball high and far out to the right. It sailed toward a group of trees and the spectators packed around the right side of the green. Then it hooked back to the left and bounced onto the green 20 feet from the hole. Nicklaus climbed up to the putting surface, tapped the ball and watched as it ran and ran and—just as it seemed about to stop short—toppled into the hole for a birdie 3. After that, his 68 on the final day—made with the tees pushed back as far as they would go and the pins put in the most difficult positions-seemed anticlimactic.
The exceptional display of golf by Nicklaus overshadowed a rather magnificent joint effort by the rest of the U.S. team. Deane Beman, current U.S. Amateur champion, who scored 67 on the second day and 69 on the third, finished second to Nicklaus on the individual list with a 282 total. Bob Gardner, runner-up to Beman in the Amateur, had a 68 on the third day and a 72-hole total of 289. Bill Hyndman III, the only one of the Americans who had played Merion before last week, shot 67 on the third day and tied Gardner at 289. No foreign player broke par on any round, and only 22-year-old Bruce Devlin, the Australian Open champion, could crash a U.S. sweep of the individual race. He finished third with a 288, just ahead of Gardner and Hyndman.
Also overshadowed by Nicklaus' four straight sub-par rounds was the significant international flavor of the event. This World Amateur Championship, in spite of the one-man show that emerged from Merion, is primarily a team event. This was the second biennial championship (the first was held at St. Andrews in Scotland two years ago), and 32 nations entered four-man teams. Each day each country's three best scores are added together, and after four days the team with the lowest overall total wins the championship and the Eisenhower Trophy. Merion was dotted with golfers from countries like Malaya (3,000 golfers, 30 courses) and Finland (400 golfers, six courses). There were turbaned, bearded Indians as well as a combined foursome from Great Britain and Ireland, where golf is so much a part of everyday life. Thirty-eight of the visitors never broke 80 in any round, four never got below 90 and one, Dr. J. Francis Silva, an orthopedic surgeon from Ceylon, failed to break 100.
"Back home at the Royal Colombo club I have an 8 handicap," Dr. Silva, who shot rounds of 102, 101, 102 and 117, said in his soft, careful English. "I can't say why I haven't done better. Maybe there's something wrong with our handicap committee."