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1973

Craig Stadler

After eight years at stroke play, the Championship reverted to match play. It was won by Craig Stadler, 20, of LaJolla, Calif., who was in his third year at the University of Southern California. Stadler defeated David Strawn, 23, of Charlotte, N.C., 6 and 5, in the final at Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio.

On the day before the final Stadler also defeated both Richard Siderowf, 1973 British Amateur Champion, 2 and 1, in the quarter-final round, and Marvin (Vinny) Giles III, who was the defending United States Champion, 3 and 1, in the semi-final round.

Giles had led the United States Walker Cup Team to a 14 to 10 victory over Great Britain and Ireland the week before, and nineteen rounds in 14 days left him "drawing energy from (his) imagination." Stadler won the first three holes, and although Giles twice cut Stadler's lead to one hole, he could never draw even. At the end he bogied the 16th and 17th holes, losing 3 and 1. Aside from the morning 18 holes of the final, Stadler was taken to the 18th hole only once.

In the fourth round he defeated Allen Sussell, Villanova, Pa., 1 up. In 147 holes he was three strokes over par. Strawn had one extra-hole match. He defeated Hugh Stuart, British Walker Cup team member, in 19 holes, in the fourth round. In the semi-final round, Strawn defeated William C. Campbell, 6 and 5. Campbell, 50, was in his 30th Amateur Championship and had won in 1964, the last time it was played at match play.

The final match, at 36 holes, was never in doubt; Stadler was 4 up after nine and 7 up after 18. In the afternoon, Strawn cut Stadler's lead to 5 up by winning the first two holes. The next two holes determined the outcome of the match. Strawn hit his tee shot on the par-3 third to within 40 feet of the hole, while Stadler hit into a greenside bunker.

Stadler, however, came out four feet front the hole and saved a half. On the fourth hole, Stadler drove into the right rough while Strawn was nicely on the fairway. Stadler then hit a 3-iron from the rough that carried to the green and stopped six inches from the hole for a conceded birdie. Strawn twice again cut the lead to five holes, but a tee shot that caught the trees on the ninth and an out-of-bounds third shot settled the outcome.

The final four holes were halved in regulation pars, giving Stadler a 6 and 5 margin. The entry was 2,110 and 200 started, with 72 matches played the first day. The weather was extremely hot with the temperature above 90 degrees every day.

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