Greg Fires Record For Open Win
Greg Norman won the Scandinavian Enterprises Open in the most devastating and emphatic style with a final round of 64, eight under par and a record for the Vasatorps course.
It was a memorable ending to a week which had started badly for Norman. He had planned to give himself a thorough indoctrination for the Open championship and had sent in a withdrawal from this tournament. Then he learned that competitors would not be allowed to practice over Muirfield before July 9, and so he somewhat reluctantly decided to play in Sweden. His disappointment at having his plans disrupted was reflected in an opening round of 76, which convinced him that he should have stayed in Britain after all.
Having improved on that effort by 10 strokes in the second round, and having recovered his usual positive outlook, he still appeared as only a remote contender when he began this round six strokes behind the leader, Mike Krantz (United States).
Two monstrous shots at the 550-yard opening hole put him on the green for the first of his eight birdies. Norman’s driving power, which gives him 30 to 40 yards advantage over the longer hitters of European golf, was backed by such command of the irons that only two of his birdie putts were longer than seven feet.
He was out in 31 and, with Krantz level par for the front nine, the issue was joined and Norman’s birdie at the 10th put them level. At this point the weather intervened, with a cloudburst causing play to be suspended for an hour and a half.
Norman remembered that the last time this happened he made a bash of his shot when play was resumed and he took extra care over his pitch shot, now made his par safely and picked up the rhythum of his game. Norman sank an 18 footer for a birdie on the 15th green to keep him level with Krantz, playing three groups behind and now beginning to raise his game with two birdies.
When Norman hit a delicate pitch to the final green, the leader board showed both him and Krantz at 11 under par for the tournament. As he lined up his seven-foot putt, Norman noticed the figure 11 being taken down opposite Krantz’s name. Was it to be replaced by 12 or 10, he wondered. He took extra care over that putt and holed.
In fact, the leader board gave Norman reassurance for the figure that went up was 10. In the next half hour that leader board demonstrated all too clearly the psychological impact on Krantz of that two-stroke swing.
After the 15th hole, up went a figure 9. After the 16th, up went a 6, for the shattered Krantz had run up eight shots at this tricky par five. He dropped yet another stroke at the 17th. That was six strokes thrown away in four holes and that debacle dropped him back to eighth place.
Norman is having a wonderful year with his victory in the French Open and only once being out of the top 10 finishers in the 17 tournaments he has played in Australia and Europe. He was already at the head of the European order of merit table before this week and his price of £8,333 virtually guarantees him a place in the World Series, which is played in America in August.