On the short sixteenth, Vardon and Ouimet got their 3's. Ray three-putted carelessly for a 4. He had given up the fight.
They came to the seventeenth, the 360-yard dogleg to the left, with Ouimet still protecting his one-stroke lead over Vardon. It was still Vardon's honor. Harry elected to play his drive close to if not over the corner, a risky shot but he had decided that the time had come to gamble and wanted to be in a position after his drive to stick his approach very close to the pin. That drive proved to be Vardon's undoing. His right hand got into the shot too much, and he hooked into the bunker in the angle of the dogleg. From his lie in the bunker Vardon could not go for the green and was forced to play out to the fairway. He put his third on, but not stone-dead. He had to take a 5. Francis had driven straight down the fairway to about the same spot from which he had played his jigger approach the day before. This time he selected his mashie—and hit a lovely shot 18 feet past the hole. His long-shafted, narrow-blade putter had not let him down all morning, and now he called on it to get him down safely in two putts for the 4 which would give him that valuable insurance stroke over Vardon. He tapped the ball over the slippery downhill grade...and holed it.
Francis now held a three-stroke lead on Vardon as they came to the home-hole. He did not let up. His drive was down the middle, his second on. His approach putt, however, left him with a good four-footer for his 4. As Francis lined up his putt, he realized for the first time that he was going to win, and with that awareness the astounding calmness that had sheathed him from the first hole on instantly disappeared. The boy felt himself shivering all over. He steadied himself as best he could, and made the putt. It was quite irrelevant that Vardon had taken a 6 and Ray a birdie 3.
The crowd who had slogged around the course in the drizzle, worn out from playing every shot with Ouimet, still staggered by the boy's nerveless poise and his brilliant golf, reeled around the eighteenth green and the clubhouse in the gayest stupor many of them ever experienced in their lives. They recalled the great shots the new champion had played—that brassie to the fifth green after he had knocked his first out-of-bounds, that mashie to the eighth and that equally fine mashie to the twelfth, that conclusive putt on the skiddy seventeenth which perhaps more than any other single shot was the one heard round the world. In the Englishmen's party there was no rancor. Barnard Darwin, the Englishman who became the greatest of all golf writers, had been scoring for Ouimet during the playoff. Naturally, Darwin had been hoping that one of his countrymen would win, if he played the better game. By the seventeenth hole, when it looked as if Ouimet would do it, Darwin had stopped hoping for a comeback by Vardon. The slim, mild-faced youngster had played the better game, and Darwin rooted him home with his whole heart. Vardon and Ray, though disappointed, could have nothing but praise for the boy who had not only beaten them but had nearly beaten their best-ball.
The cards of the match:
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
And what about the new champion? After the battle he was the same remarkable young man—exhilarated but modest, still unbelieving and still unbelievable. "I am as much surprised and as pleased as anyone here," he said in accepting the trophy from the USGA secretary, John Reid, Jr. "Naturally it always was my hope to win out. I simply tried my best to keep this cup from going to our friends across the water. I am very glad to have been the agency for keeping the cup in America."
The next day, when The Country Club was the scene of an all-out celebration, Francis Ouimet walked over from his house across the street and joined in the merriment by tossing down, one after another, a drink called a Horse's Neck, a compound of lemon juice and ginger ale.