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This day in sports: Jean Van de Velde collapses late in 1999 British Open

Jean Van de Velde looks on at the 72nd hole during the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland.
Jean Van de Velde looks on at the 72nd hole during the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland.
(Associated Press)

Jean Van de Velde blows a three-stroke lead on this date in 1999 when he triple-bogeys the 72nd hole at Carnoustie, setting the stage for Paul Lawrie to be the first Scotsman to win the British Open in his native land since Tommy Armour in 1931.

Lawrie, from Aberdeen, trails by 10 strokes when the final round begins, but after Van de Velde’s meltdown on No. 18 he wins a four-hole playoff over the Frenchman and American Justin Leonard, making birdies on the last two holes to complete the biggest comeback in a major tournament.

Instead of playing it safe, Van de Velde uses a driver off the tee and the 72nd hole turns into a disaster, his ball finding a bunker, water and the rough.

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“I didn’t go for glory,” Van de Velde said. “That wasn’t something mad I was trying to do. But it came out a nightmare.”

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1927 — Ty Cobb of the Philadelphia Athletics doubles off the glove of Harry Heilmann of the Detroit Tigers for his 4,000th hit at Detroit. Cobb, who spends more than 22 years of his career with the Tigers, goes on to collect 4,191 hits, a record that stands until 1985 when it is broken by Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose would retire as the all-time leader with 4,256 hits.

1951 — “Jersey Joe” Walcott, at age 37, becomes the oldest fighter to win the world heavyweight title when he knocks out Ezzard Charles in the seventh round at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. It is the third of four fights in a three-year period between the fighters. Charles had won a 15-round unanimous decision four months earlier.

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1970 — The San Francisco Giants’ Willie Mays becomes the 10th member of the 3,000-hit club when he smashes a single on an 0-2 count off the Montreal Expos’ Mike Wegener between third and shortstop in the second inning at Candlestick Park. Mays’ milestone comes just two months after fellow National League slugger Henry Aaron gets his 3,000th hit.

1987 — The New York Yankees’ Don Mattingly ties Dale Long’s 31-year-old major league record when he hits a home run in eight consecutive games, a solo shot in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Arlington. Long sets the record during the 1956 season while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr. also would hit home runs in eight straight games in 1993.

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1993 — Greg Norman of Australia plays the best golf of his career when he shoots a 64 in the final round to beat defending champion Nick Faldo by two strokes and win the British Open at Royal St. George’s at Sandwich, England. Norman collects his second Claret Jug, and his 64 is the lowest round by the tournament’s winner in Open history at the time. His 72-hole total is a record 13-under-par 267.

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1995 — Jonathan Edwards of Great Britain breaks the 10-year-old world triple-jump record when he leaps 59 feet in a meet at Salamanca, Spain. Edwards tops the previous mark of 58-11½ set in 1985 by Willie Banks of the United States. Banks, from UCLA, set his record at the U.S. national championships at Indianapolis.

1999 — David Cone dazzles Montreal on just 88 pitches when he throws the 16th perfect game in the baseball history to lead New York to a 6-0 victory at Yankee Stadium. The game is stopped for 33 minutes in the third inning because of rain, but the delay doesn’t stop Cone’s momentum. He strikes out 10 Expos and gets offensive support on home runs by Ricky Ledee and Derek Jeter.

2005 — In Oklahoma City, the United States loses a tournament title game for the first time since 1997 when it falls 3-1 to Japan in the inaugural World Cup of Softball. Japan scores twice in the second inning against Cat Osterman on back-to-back singles by Satoko Mabuchi and Emi Naito. It is the second loss in a week for Team USA, which dropped a 2-1 decision to Canada in the opener.

2010 — Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa shoots a one-under 71 to complete a seven-stroke victory over Lee Westwood of England at the British Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. It is Oosthuizen’s first major tournament victory, and it comes after he finishes 72 holes in 13-under 267. He takes the lead for good in the second round and starts the final round four shots ahead.

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SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press


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