US Open countdown: Middlecoff does just enough to win second Open title in 1956

56th U.S. Open | June 14-16, 1956

Oak Hill Country Club East Course, Rochester, N.Y.


Cary Middlecoff, United States 71 - 70 - 70 - 70 281
Julius Boros, United States 71 - 71 - 71 - 69 282
Ben Hogan, United States 72 - 68 - 72 - 70 282
Ed Furgol, United States 71 - 70 - 73 - 71 285
Ted Kroll, United States 72 - 70 - 70 - 73 285
Peter Thomson, Australia 70 - 69 - 75 - 71 285

Surviving his own back-nine adventures, then watching other contenders, including Hogan, falter down the stretch, Middlecoff became the eighth man to win multiple U.S. Opens (1949, 1956).

Beginning the final round with a two-stroke lead, Middlecoff — the former dentist — missed a 10-foot putt for par at the 16th hole, then an 8-footer to drop another shot at the 17th hole.

But he got up and down, sinking a 3-footer on the finishing hole to get to the clubhouse with the lead.

Bidding for his fifth U.S. Open — again — Hogan saw it wilt when he missed a 4-footer for par at No. 17.

Boros’ 15-footer at the 18th hole lipped out. He would have tied Middlecoff.

Then there was Kroll, an ex-sergeant in the U.S. Army who still carried around bullet wounds. The stocky New Yorker took the lead with a birdie at No. 14, but ran into serious trouble two holes later.

At No. 16, Kroll’s second shot went deep into the woods. It took him four shots to reach the green, and a triple bogey ended his championship bid.

A record-setting 13,914 attended the final two rounds Saturday.

This was the U.S. Open that Arnold Palmer recorded his first top-10 finish at (seventh place). And Billy Casper made his major-championship debut at Oak Hill, finishing 14th.