Bob Charles - New Zealand - Brief biography of his International golfing career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 16 July 1999

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      Saturday, 14 March 1936
      Carterton, New Zealand
  • New Zealand
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Bob CHARLES - New Zealand - Brief biography of his International golfing career.


                            1960-67. His greatest moment at 1963 Open.


 Bob Charles won the 1954 New Zealand Open whilst still an Amateur,but it was a further six years before he left his job as a bank clerk to join the paid ranks. The following year Bob won the New Zealand PGA Championship but with the lack of opportunities in his home country he played much of that year on the European Tour. His first victory in Europe came in the 1961 Bowmaker Tournament and in 1962 he finished in a creditable fifth place in the Open at Troon,albeit 14 shots back on the winner Arnold Palmer. Charles played most of his golf on the US Tour during 1962 and the following year he won his first event in America when capturing the Houston Open.


That same year came his greatest moment with victory in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. His rounds of 68,72,66 & 71 saw him level with Phil Rodgers, which meant a 36 hole play-off the following day. Charles was not to be denied and cantered home by eight clear shots,mainly thanks to his exquisite putting. In the morning round he needed a mere 26 putts and in the afternoon a further 31 to give him his first and only major title. There was a third place finish the following year at the US Open in a tournament won by Ken Venturi but there was to be no further challenge for a major until 1968. In between times there were victories in the 1965 Tucson Open and the 1967 Atlantic Classic on the US Tour whilst in his homeland Bob triumphed in the Watties Open and New Zealand Open of 1966 and the Caltex Open of 1967. (David Scranage)


                            1968 onwards. So close to second major in '68 Open.


The year of 1968 saw Bob Charles go close on two occasions to adding to that one major that he had won back in the 1963 Open at Troon. The Open Championship at Carnoustie was particularly frustrating for the left-handed New Zealander as he could manage only a disappointing closing round 76 to finish two strokes behind Gary Player. He had gone into that final round one shot to the good on the South African after opening efforts of 72,72 & 71 but that 76 was to prove his undoing and he had to settle for a share of second place. Later that year in the US PGA he was pipped by just one stroke by Julius Boros in what was his best performance in a major on American soil. Going into the final round the pair were all-square but Boros shot 69 to Charles' 70 and the title was his.


The following year there was Open Championship heartbreak as he lost out to Tony Jacklin,once more by two strokes. Bob had opened the tournament in quite magnificent fashion with rounds of 66 and 69 but paid the price for his third round 75. Both men shot 72's on the last day to give Jacklin the title and that proved to be the nearest that Charles would get to that elusive second major. He was third in the US Open the following year,once more behind that man Jacklin,but was never really a threat and finished the tournament eight strokes back on the Englishman. Charles continued to win on a fairly regular basis during the 1970's with his last tournament victory coming in the 1983 Tallahassee Open. Bob Charles is,without doubt,the finest player that New Zealand has produced and to this day he is a highly successful performer on the US Seniors Tour. (David Scranage)



No.    Date            Tournament                       Winning score                    Margin of victory    Runner(s)-up

1    21 Apr 1963    Houston Classic                    −12 (67-66-66-69=268)    1 stroke        Fred Hawkins
2    13 Jul 1963    The Open Championship        −7 (68-72-66-71=277)       Playoff         Phil Rodgers
3    21 Feb 1965    Tucson Open Invitational     −17 (65-69-67-70=271)    4 strokes       Al Geiberger
4    1 Oct 1967    Atlanta Classic                           −6 (72-71-69-70=282)      2 strokes         Tommy Bolt,  Dick Crawford, Gardner Dickinson
5    23 Jun 1968    Canadian Open                   −10 (70-68-70-66=274)    2 strokes       Jack Nicklaus
6    7 Apr 1974    Greater Greensboro Open      - 14 (65-70-67-68=270)    1 stroke        Raymond Floyd,  Lee Trevino.


European Tour wins (4)


1972 John Player Classic, Dunlop Masters
1973 Scandinavian Enterprise Open
1974 Swiss Open

Australasian wins (8)


1954 New Zealand Open (as an amateur)
1961 New Zealand PGA Championship
1966 New Zealand Open
1970 New Zealand Open
1973 New Zealand Open
1978 Air New Zealand/Shell Open
1979 New Zealand PGA Championship
1980 New Zealand PGA Championship


Other wins (12)


1961 Bowmaker Tournament, Caltex Open
1962 Daks Tournament (tie with Dai Rees), Caltex Open, Swiss Open
1963 Watties Open
1966 Watties Open, Caltex Open
1968 Watties Open
1969 Piccadilly World Match Play Championship
1973 South African Open
1983 Tallahassee Open