A Look Back On Ken Venturi's Historic U.S. Open Win

In Venturi's first appearance on a national stage, in the 1956 Masters, playing as an amateur, he held a four-stroke lead at the start of the fourth round, but ended up one stroke behind Jackie Burke, Jr., who set a Masters record with an eight-shot comeback in the final round.

June 20, 2014

Fifty-one years ago, on June 20, 1964, San José State golf legend Ken Venturi cemented his legacy as a player with a U.S. Open victory which continues to be remembered as one the greatest in the history of the sport.

Entering the 36-hole final and 100-degree temperatures at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., Venturi shot a 66 in the morning session to stay within two strokes of 54-hole leader Tommy Jacobs.

Before the afternoon round began, doctors advised Venturi to withdraw. He was suffering dehydration due to the oppressive heat and had been taking treatments with tea and salt tablets in between rounds. Doctors warned him that he was risking heat stroke if he continued. Venturi ignored the warning and shot a 70 to Jacobs' 76 to earn a four-stroke victory and the U.S. Open title.

His score of 206 over the final 54 holes was a tournament record, as was his score of 136 over the last 36.  His incredible accomplishment earned him the Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" and the PGA's Player of the Year award.

Venturi, a member of the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame, went on to play on the victorious United States Ryder Cup team in 1965, and earned his final PGA Tour win in 1966.

In 2013, Venturi was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame alongside Fred Couples, Colin Montgomery, Willie Park, Jr. and Ken Schofield. He joined Juli Inkster, a 2000 inductee, as San José State golfers in the World Golf Hall of Fame.