"Following Tony Jacklin`s inside battle at Lytham is the second of the last hole series.
Mr. Lu (Lu Liang-Huan) and the 18th hole at Birkdale on the last day.
Fifty-one years ago in 1971, a small man from Taiwan named Lu Liang-Huan, known affectionately as Mr. Lu made himself a part of golfing history. Not because he had won a major event (even though he was very close), but more because of his captivating friendly smile and charming demeanor.
It was to be an accident close to the Tournament's end that would become the definitive moment of the whole week and leave us with an unforgettable drama to always associate itself with the event. So it was in 1971 as the final heartbeats of the British Open championship in North West England
came to rest. 1971-Another memorable shot played in the same year was the Alan Shepard six iron hit off the dusty surface of the moon (click on the link for this story).
The `clawed` backswing of Trevino in 1971
It was to be Lee Trevino`s title that year. With a score of 278, Trevino was six under par, just one shot ahead of the little Formosan Lu Liang-Huan who had chased him relentlessly throughout the four Tournament days.
Although the four days had been mostly focused on what seemed to be a three-horse race between Trevino, Mr. Lu, and Tony Jacklin, the final day lit up when a
Jack Nicklaus charging from behind in this era was a nerve-wracking experience that tested any player's will to win.
group of experienced American players led by Jack Nicklaus and Welshman Craig Defoy made last-day charges. Yet although this made a tense and thrilling ending to watch, it was the final act on the 18th hole with the last pairing of Lee Trevino and Mr. Lu that will never be forgotten.
Lu Liang-Huan from Taiwan was already an established figure in Asian golf, had played in the British Open back in 1964, and was not entirely a newcomer to the golf scene.
But the crowds that flocked to the course, and millions who watched on television, took him to their hearts as he acknowledged the applause for birdies and eagles with the polite raising of a hat, which they thought was part of his Taiwanese wardrobe but which in fact he had bought that week from the Pro shop!
Prior to the 18th Trevino had jointly led with Jacklin for two rounds, then went a shot in front of Jacklin and Mr. Lu with a round to go. With five 3s from the 3rd to the 7th, and out in 31, Lee was fully in control until Birkdale`s tough finish caught him on the 17th. There he drove into the sandhills, took two more to get back onto the fairway, and went down with an ugly seven. Lu was now just one shot behind with one to go.
The last hole has been altered since Trevino and Mr. Lu played it in 1971. Alterations were made in 1998 that have moved the tee forward and produced a long par four instead of the five it was when they played it back then.
Teeing off first Mr.Lu pulled his tee shot left and finished on the bank of the fairway bunker with about 250yards left to reach the green.
This now left Mr. Lu with a difficult decision to make. He could easily play the hole as a par five and lay the ball up before the green, but a need to make the one shot up on Trevino, who was lying safely on the fairway, meant Mr. Lu would have to get as much distance as possible from the difficult lie.
He chose a 5wood and flattened his swing off after `choking` down the grip, this is how the shot is played when the ball is above the feet.
Click on image to expand.
With the ball above the feet the clubface, when placed behind the ball, will point to the left.
There are several ways to counter this, and ensure the ball does not go left,
but unfortunately, Mr. Lu underestimated the curve and sent the ball violently curving offline into the watching crowd surrounding the green.
Unfortunately it didn`t come off- click on image to expand.
The ball flew with full force into the crowd and hit Mrs. Lillian Tipping full on the temple.
Mrs. Tipping, from Littleborough, Lancashire was taken to hospital where she was examined but not detained. The dramatics that followed left Mr. Lu with the difficulties of finding his calm again. History records he did this and finished with a birdie four. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Lee Trevino made a solid birdie four to match Lu and win the 1971 British Open crown.
To see the events in the original video click on the link.
It did not end there though. Three years later at Royal Lytham, Mr. Lu personally met up with her for the first time, and a few years after that Mrs. Tipping and her husband were flown out to Taiwan for a holiday at Lu's own hotel!
"Mr. Lu in England." Hand-worked screen print, special edition. Only 20 examples of this wonderful story. 50 x 70 cm Somerset 350g art paper. All four sides are decal finished which means a mount is not necessary.
To see the print in larger form click on the image
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