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6) Among the top 15 PGA money winners for the year up to the entry deadline of the Open.
This year the entry deadline was April 30, making the Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas the final tournament. Palmer had stood No. 15 on the money list going into Dallas, but Frank Beard birdied the 71st hole, then parred the 72nd to tie for second in the tournament and push him out.
Nor did Palmer qualify in any of the other five categories. His lone Open victory was in 1960, he has never won the PGA and he finished a dismal 59th in last year's Open. Thus the biggest name in golf was forced to play 36 holes at McKeesport alongside a bunch of people—Harry Harold, Billy Capps, Herky Smith—whose names sound like disc jockeys and others who played out of places like the Host Farm Resort Motel.
Palmer had prepared for his unusual assignment by playing the 6,200-yard, par-72 Youghiogheny (pronounced Yawk-o-gainy or, if native to the area, simply Yawk) course two weeks prior to the qualifier. Under perfect weather conditions he shot a 67.
Meanwhile, local USGA officials had their hands full. For the first time since Ben Hogan was scheduled to play in the Pittsburgh qualifier in 1962, spectators were charged $2. All greens and tees were roped off, phones and wire machines were set up for the press, security policemen were provided to handle traffic and parking and six marshaling teams of four men each went around, armed with white pith helmets, more rope and little experience. The ropes were brought over from Oakmont, where they had been assembled for the U.S. Amateur later this summer, but they did not help much.
Some of the crowd had been waiting for more than an hour in the rain and cold before Palmer came to the practice tee a few minutes after 7. Winnie, at home, would soon be getting the girls, Peggy, 13, and Amy, 10, off to school in raincoats and umbrellas, but Palmer himself wore only two sweaters against the wind. He hunched his shoulders and flapped his arms between shots and he frowned a lot.
A thousand people surrounded the first tee to watch the fifth twosome of the morning. Palmer and Lew Worsham, an old friend and former Open champion himself, go off at 8, just after William Crooks and James Rogers and just before Lew's brother Herman, the Youghiogheny pro, and John Felus.
Palmer began by hitting a screaming hook into the left rough and then dunking a horrible wedge into a deep bunker short of the green. After that he quickly removed all suspense from the day by exploding to two feet and saving par, then making a birdie at No. 2. Palmer went back to even par when he three-putted the sixth—his only bogey of the day—but he played the next 30 holes in six under par. His 70-68—138 score led the 52 entrants (who were playing for eight spots) and included a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5, 455-yard 8th hole during the afternoon.
Throughout both rounds the crowds proved to be unmanageable. Unaccustomed to the etiquette and propriety of such an event, they stormed over the fairways, leaving little more than scar tissue for the other 50 players. Each time Palmer holed out they rushed, screaming, onto the next tee and fairway, giving poor Lew Worsham's putting the tranquillity of a Marx brothers movie. Because his friend was having such a miserable day anyway, Palmer became visibly angry. Early on, he attempted to stop the audience from scattering. "Folks, please," he reprimanded, after putting out on the 4th green. "Folks, wait. We're both playing here." Worsham was a victim of the same experience that plagues many of the tour regulars who are paired with Palmer: to the Army, Worsham was as significant a part of the scene as the nearest tree.
It wasn't until after his eagle that Palmer became chummy with the galleries or gave even the hint of a smile. Winnie was walking along with him then and, three holes later, he came to her in the rough even though she was backing away.