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1972

Mrs. Susie Maxwell Berning, the 1968 Women's Open Champion, won at Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y., with a score of 299. Mrs. Berning shot rounds of 79-73-76-71 to finish one stroke ahead of Miss Pam Barnett, Miss Kathy Ahern, and Mrs. Judy Rankin. She joined a select group of six who have won the Women's Open at least twice.

Mrs. Berning's golf at Winged foot was erratic. Her opening 79 was the poorest start by a Champion since 1953, when the USGA first conducted the Women's Open, while her closing 71 was one of just eight rounds that matched or bettered par in the 212 rounds played by the 53 contestants who finished 72 holes.

The Championship was decided on the 200-yard, par-3 17th hole in the last round. Mrs. Berning came to the 17th trailing Miss Barnett by one stroke. She then made one of the most rewarding shots of her career: her tee shot carried the green and came down 20 feet from the hole. Mrs. Berning sank her putt for a birdie 2, parred the 18th and was home with a 71 and a 299 total. Moments later, Miss Barnett came to the 17th. She was short of the green with a 4-wood, chipped up weakly, and missed an eight-foot putt, scoring one-over-par 4 to fall a stroke behind Mrs. Berning. She finished with a 72 for the round, tying for second place with Judy Rankin and Kathy Ahern.

Miss Ahern's final-day 70 was the lowest score of the Championship. Heavy rains the week before had threatened to cause a postponement of the Championship, and caused Winged Foot to play especially long. Mrs. JoAnne Gunderson Carner, the defending Champion, started with a 79 and was never in contention. Miss Marilynn Smith finished 72 holes in her 20th consecutive Open, a record which no one else has matched.

Miss Shirley Englehorn, recipient of the Ben Hogan Award in 1967, had not played tournament golf in over a year following an operation to fuse ankle bones, and furthermore, she had not walked 18 holes until the week before the Championship. Yet she let after the first round with a 72 and held her lead with a 75 in the second round for 147. The next day she could not keep up the pace and scored an 82. Of the 57 amateur golfers who started the Championship, nine finished 72 holes.

Mrs. Jane Bastanchury Booth, leading amateur in the 1971 Open, again led, scoring 304 to tie for sixth place. Miss Nancy Porter, another amateur, scored a hole in one on the par-3, 164-yard sixth hole with a 3-iron. There was a record entry of 176, of which 92 were professionals, also a new record.

Only 150 played, however, because the USGA imposed a limit for the first time. Prize money amounted to $38,350, a new record. Of this amount, $6,000 was awarded to the winner, another new high.

OPEN RECORDS

Starts - 18

Best Finish - Won in '68, '72 & '73

Rds - 64

Cuts Made - 14

Top 3 - 4

Top 5 - 6

Top 10 - 8

Top 25 - 10

Avg. - 75.80

Scores In 60s - 3

Rds Under Par - 5

Earnings - $33,815.28
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