1995 U.S. Open: Pavin Comes Through in the Clutch

Corey Pavin acknowledges the crowd after victory in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York on June 18, 1995
1995 US Open champion Corey Pavin (center). David Cannon/Getty Images

The 1995 U.S. Open was the 100th anniversary of the tournament's first playing in 1895. And what an anniversary present Corey Pavin gave himself. After years of trying, the golfer who was one of the most consistent performers on the PGA Tour won his first — and, as it turned out, only — major championship title.

Quick Bits

  • U.S. Open number: This was the 95th time the U.S. Open was played.

How Corey Pavin Won the 1995 US Open

Corey Pavin was one of the better players on the PGA Tour in the early 1990s, but as the 1995 U.S. Open arrived, he had yet to win a major championship. Pavin's name often came up in discussions of the "best player without a major."

Greg Norman was a superstar in golf, and he did have major wins under his belt prior to the 1995 U.S. Open, but he also had a history of heartbreaking close calls and collapses in majors.

When the final round began, Norman and Tom Lehman were tied for the lead. But at the end of the day, it was Pavin who finally had his major victory.

Norman started fast, opening with rounds of 68 and 67. Norman increased to a 74 in the third round, while Lehman fired a 67 to tie Norman at the top. Pavin was three strokes behind following rounds of 72, 69 and 71.

But in the final round at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Pavin surged with a 68, compared to a 73 from Norman and a 74 from Lehman.

While Norman and Lehman began faltering on the back nine, Pavin held steady. He took the lead after a birdie on No. 15, then made a tricky par putt on the 17th.

After teeing off on the final hole, Pavin, one of the shortest hitters in the game at that time, still needed a 4-wood to reach the elevated final green.

He struck the ball pure, and began racing after the shot, running up the fairway until he was able to see the ball on the green. He raised his arms over his head in celebration — at that point, Pavin knew the 1995 U.S. Open championship was his. He got the ball down for par and claimed the trophy.

1995 U.S. Open Scores

Results from the 1995 U.S. Open golf tournament played at the par-70 Shinnecock Hills Country Club in Shinnecock Hills, N.Y. (a-amateur):

Corey Pavin72-69-71-68—280$350,000
Greg Norman68-67-74-73—282$207,000
Tom Lehman70-72-67-74—283$131,974
Bill Glasson69-70-76-69—284$66,633
Jay Haas70-73-72-69—284$66,633
Neal Lancaster70-72-77-65—284$66,633
Davis Love III72-68-73-71—284$66,633
Jeff Maggert69-72-77-66—284$66,633
Phil Mickelson68-70-72-74—284$66,633
Frank Nobilo72-72-70-71—285$44,184
Vijay Singh70-71-72-72—285$44,184
Bob Tway69-69-72-75—285$44,184
Brad Bryant71-75-70-70—286$30,934
Lee Janzen70-72-72-72—286$30,934
Mark McCumber70-71-77-68—286$30,934
Nick Price66-73-73-74—286$30,934
Mark Roe71-69-74-72—286$30,934
Jeff Sluman72-69-74-71—286$30,934
Steve Stricker71-70-71-74—286$30,934
Duffy Waldorf72-70-75-69—286$30,934
Billy Andrade72-69-74-72—287$20,085
Pete Jordan74-71-71-71—287$20,085
Brett Ogle71-75-72-69—287$20,085
Payne Stewart74-71-73-69—287$20,085
Scott Verplank72-69-71-75—287$20,085
Ian Woosnam72-71-69-75—287$20,085
Fuzzy Zoeller69-74-76-68—287$20,085
David Duval70-73-73-72—288$13,912
Gary Hallberg70-76-69-73—288$13,912
Mike Hulbert74-72-72-70—288$13,912
Miguel Angel Jimenez72-72-75-69—288$13,912
Colin Montgomerie71-74-75-68—288$13,912
Jose Maria Olazabal73-70-72-73—288$13,912
Jumbo Ozaki69-68-80-71—288$13,912
Scott Simpson67-75-74-72—288$13,912
Guy Boros73-71-74-71—289$9,812
Curt Byrum70-70-76-73—289$9,812
Steve Elkington72-73-73-71—289$9,812
Raymond Floyd74-72-76-67—289$9,812
Bernhard Langer74-67-74-74—289$9,812
Bill Porter73-70-79-67—289$9,812
Curtis Strange70-72-76-71—289$9,812
Hal Sutton71-74-76-68—289$9,812
Barry Lane74-72-71-73—290$8,147
John Daly71-75-74-71—291$7,146
Nick Faldo72-68-79-72—291$7,146
Bradley Hughes72-71-75-73—291$7,146
Jim McGovern73-69-81-68—291$7,146
Christian Pena74-71-76-70—291$7,146
Omar Uresti71-74-75-71—291$7,146
Bob Burns73-72-75-72—292$5,842
Matt Gogel73-70-73-76—292$5,842
Peter Jacobsen72-72-74-74—292$5,842
Eduardo Romero73-71-75-73—292$5,842
Ted Tryba71-75-73-73—292$5,842
Greg Bruckner70-72-73-78—293$4,833
Brad Faxon71-73-77-72—293$4,833
Scott Hoch74-72-70-77—293$4,833
Steve Lowery69-72-75-77—293$4,833
Chris Perry70-74-75-74—293$4,833
Tom Watson70-73-77-73—293$4,833
John Cook70-75-76-73—294$3,969
David Edwards72-74-72-76—294$3,969
Jim Gallagher Jr.71-75-77-71—294$3,969
Paul Goydos73-73-70-78—294$3,969
Brandt Jobe71-72-76-75—294$3,969
Tommy Armour III77-69-74-75—295$3,349
Mike Brisky71-72-77-75—295$3,349
Tom Kite70-72-82-71—295$3,349
John Connelly75-71-74-76—296$3,039
Ben Crenshaw72-71-79-75—297$2,806
John Maginnes75-71-74-77—297$2,806
Joey Gullion70-74-81-76—301$2,574

Tiger Woods' Debut and More Notes On the 1995 U.S. Open

Another notable thing about this tournament is that it was the site of Tiger Woods' first appearance in a U.S. Open tournament. Woods, 19 years old at the time of the tournament, qualified by winning the 1994 U.S. Amateur Championship.

His tournament ended early, however. After scoring 74 in the first round, Woods suffered a wrist injury and withdrew during the second round. Woods went on to win the U.S. Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008.

Other notables:

  • While this was the 100th anniversary of the first U.S. Open, it was only the 95th time the tournament was played. Why the discrepancy? The tournament skipped a few years during the two world wars of the 20th century.
  • In the final round, Neal Lancaster became the first golfer to score 29 for nine holes in a U.S. Open, recording that score on his back nine. He shot 65 and finished four strokes behind Pavin.
  • Andy North, winner of the 1978 and 1985 U.S. Opens, played this tournament for the final time. He missed the cut. It was North's last appearance in any of the four majors.
  • Phil Mickelson finished tied for fourth place, his first Top 10 finish in a U.S. Open.