1978 Festival of Sydney Open
The Lakes Golf Club
Eastlakes, New South Wales, Australia

Norman's Conquest with a Record 64

1978 Festival of Sydney Open

Big-hitting Queenslander Greg Norman leap-frogged through the field with a record-shattering 9-under-par 64 to win the $20,000 Caltex Festival of Sydney Open Golf Tournament at The Lakes yesterday.

The Norman conquest 1978 style scattered the field like ninepins as he went surging past overnight leader Ian Stanley who had the record at 66 on Friday.

Norman’s golfing blitz shot him from equal fifth when the round started to a comfortable three-stroke victory over Stanley.

Few greater rounds of golf, either for the booming power from the tees or contrasting oiled delicacy on the greens, have been seen by this correspondent.

It was the most under par Norman has ever been for one round. The corn-haired Queenslander finished with 14-under-par 278. Those 72 holes included only three bogeys. All else wilted beside his last-round blitz.

Stanley, equal leader the first day, and sole leader the following two, had par 73 and was left behind. To think that Stanley never had worse than a par round in his 281 and only collected second placing is quite soul-destroying.

Jack Newton was third, a stroke behind, after an extremely gallant 69. He had food poisioning and was nauseated to the point where, at the 14th hole, he spent several minutes vomiting at the lake’s edge while the wildlife scattered.

What a stupendous start this is to 1978 for Norman, the younf man with all the looks of Jack Nicklaus, and maybe a smudge of the same talent. He has returned from his month-long holiday in England, where he was in the fields of Hampshire with his game tingling at a fresh pitch.

This was his fourth 72-hole tournament victory in the last 14 months. He also won the West Lakes Classic, the Kuzoh International in Japan and Martini International in England.

Norman said the fact that he was in the same group yesterday with Newton had a lot to do with his record scoring.

“We were urging each other on with all the birdies we were having. The further I went the surer I was that the winner would come from our group. I reckon if Jack and I had been in a four-ball we’d have finished about 16 under.”

Norman birdied the second, fifth and eighth on the way out, then ther 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th and eagled the 17th. Two shots absolutely stand out.

Down the 14th, a hole that figured so much this week and will in every tournament played at The Lakes, he crunched a 3-wood to the heart of the fairway. He then struck a 7-iron firmly and sweetly over the water to just two meters from the pin. Here was an eagle chance, but his putt hit the left-hand back edge of the hole and frustratingly spun out.

On the 17th, Norman again faced an eagle, but this time his putt from eight meters went in, again spun out to the edge, but then dropped in. That extraordinary putt seemed the ball game.

Stanley was not completely unhappy having been run down by Norman. “I played pretty solidly today under pressure and I know now that I can put four fairly good rounds together.”