Ed Furgol, 1954 U.S. Open champion, Baltusol Golf Club

Posted June 18, 2016 - Western Pennsylvania Golf Association - Contact

As we celebrate the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, June 13-19, we honor the four individuals from western Pennsylvania that have won the championship. This is Part Three of four.

On the 72nd hole of the 1954 U.S. Open at Baltusrol Golf Club’s Lower Course in Springfield, NJ, Ed Furgol drove into the trees on the left. He was blocked from playing the hole as designed, but had an open shot down the adjacent 18th fairway on the Upper Course. Furgol played his second and left himself a clear shot to the green. After playing his third onto the green, he two-putted for the title.

Furgol recorded 71-70-71-72—284 to beat Gene Littler by one stroke.

This was the first time in U.S. Open history that the championship was nationally televised and gallery ropes had been installed by the USGA. As with the 1951 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills, Baltusrol hired architect Robert Trent Jones to redesign the Lower Course, which had also hosted the U.S. Opens in 1903 and 1936.

After Furgol arrived at Westmoreland Country Club, he won the Tri-State PGA Section in 1962, 1963, and 1965. He also won the West Penn Open in 1965.

The list of golfers who have won the Tri-State PGA Section and the West Penn Open in the same year is short: Greensburg’s Perry DeVecchio in 1934 and 1935, Roy Vucinich of Allegheny in 1977, and Butler’s Rob McClellan in 2011.

Furgol also joins Sam Parks, Lew Worsham, and Arnold Palmer as U.S. Open winners who have also won the West Penn Open.

Before his arrival in western Pennsylvania, Furgol recorded six wins on the PGA Tour wins. He won the 1947 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, the Phoenix Open and U.S. Open in 1954, the Miler High Life Open and Rubber City Open in 1956, and the 1957 Agua Caliente Open in Tijuana, Mexico.

Furgol was consistent in major championships. He finished in the top 6 at The Masters three times, and he finished in the top 15 in the U.S. Open four times. In the PGA Championship, Furgol made it to the round of 16 or better three times during its match play era, and recorded a t-13 in 1964 after the championship moved to stroke play.

In his only appearance in the British Open in 1955, Furgol finished t-19.

In 51 major championship appearances, Furgol made the cut in 29, including eleven straight from the 1953 PGA through the 1957 Masters.

As an Amateur, Furgol won the 1945 North & South Amateur at Pinehurst Resort.