Nicklaus 103 (2 under)
Player 104 (1 under)
Palmer 104 (1 under)
NICKLAUS: This morning I felt that unless Gary was going to win, the difference between the winner and the runner-up would be about three or four shots. And I honestly thought the winner would be Arnie. I played bridge last night with Arnie, Forest Evashevski and Charlie Goren, and I didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. Then I got so worked up thinking about the bridge game [Nicklaus won when he played with Goren, lost when he played against him] that I didn't fall asleep for another three hours. I was feeling pretty frozen when I woke up. Right away on the first hole I got a bad break. I hit my second into a trap and buried it so deep that as soon as I saw it I knew I could just barely get it out. By the 3rd hole I was having so much trouble I hardly noticed that Arnie had started out bogey, bogey, bogey.
PALMER: I had a good shot at a birdie on the first hole. My approach shot left me only about 12 feet away. But I hit the putt so bad that I ended up three-putting. Right there I lost a little of my confidence. When I three-putted the next green it really shook my confidence.
PLAYER: It kind of burned me up when a reporter asked me after the round yesterday if I thought Jack or I could catch Arnold. Damn, Jack was only one shot behind, and I was just four. Golf's a strange game and people don't seem to realize it. I felt pretty confident starting off today. I picked up a stroke in a hurry on the first hole. On the 2nd I've got a five-footer for a birdie. Arnold already has a bogey 6. If I make my putt I get two strokes back on the leader. But I miss the bloody thing. That hurt. Believe me, it did.
PALMER: Things got worse. I had a six-iron to the green on the 3rd hole. I tried to draw it a little and ended up hooking it. This was partly because of a bad lie, but I didn't hit the shot right at all. It hit the branch of a tree and fell into the water. There I was, 3 over par on the first three holes, and a stroke behind Jack. As you know, I never like to play safe, but now I had to gamble all the way. Yet it wasn't going to do me much good to gamble if I couldn't start banging some putts into the hole.
PLAYER: All at once I feel maybe this isn't Arnie's day and that I can come on strong. I get in real trouble on the 3-par 5th hole, but Arnie's in bad shape again and Jack's a long way from the pin. I hit my shot out of the rough and it stops no more than two feet from the hole. I blow the putt! I thought to myself, "Man, it's really going to be tough!" I can't keep waiting for these guys to make mistakes. I birdie 6 and I'm in business again. My par on 8 gets me another stroke back on both of them. And yes sir, I danced the twist on the 9th hole—sure I did. Why not? That was at least a 75-footer I knocked in for my birdie 3. I'm thinking to myself, "We're going to be all even starting the last nine." Jack obviously thought differently. He had been in trouble, but he sank an eight-foot putt to end up with a tremendous par.
NICKLAUS: On the 9th hole I probably hit the most important putt of the whole round. It may just have made winning possible. As I stood over the ball it occurred to me that I'd needed 17 putts on the first eight holes. That's bad. You can't imagine how relieved I felt when this one went in.
PLAYER: Well, so he made the putt. It didn't bother me any. It was the first one he had made today.
AFTER THE 36 HOLES
Nicklaus 135 (5 under)
Player 139 (1 under)
Palmer 139 (1 under)