History

1923: Hagen vs. Sarazen -- Golf's greatest match?

Champion: Gene Sarazen, New York, N.Y.
Site: Pelham Golf Club, Pelham Manor, N.Y.
Date: Sept. 23-29
Purse: $3,600
Par: 36-36 - 72

Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen - believed by many the two finest golfers of the era - squared off in the finals of the PGA Championship. The match lived up to pre-Championship hype, with Sarazen defeating Hagen in the first extra-hole finale in Championship history. The match was even after 18 holes before Sarazen grabbed a three-hole lead in the afternoon.

Hagen birdied the 29th hole to trim the deficit to two holes and won the 34th and 35th to square the match. Sarazen almost succumbed on the 37th hole, driving into deep rough, just a couple of feet from the out-of-bounds barrier. With a small crowd gathered around him, Sarazen was heard telling the audience, "I'll put this one up so close to the hole that it will break Walter's heart." Sarazen followed with a brilliant recovery shot, with his ball coming to rest two feet from the flagstick.

Hagen dumped his approach into a greenside bunker, but almost holed his bunker approach. Sarazen closed the drama by sinking his birdie putt. Sarazen and Hagen landed in the PGA record book, ranking 1-2 for most holes played in one Championship. Sarazen went 194 holes to Hagen's 188.

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