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Maurice Bembridge has died at the age of 79.

The Englishman won eight European Tour titles in his career, including what is now the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, and represented Great Britain & Ireland in four Ryder Cups between 1969 and 1975.

But it is at Augusta where Bembridge’s name will forever be etched into golf folklore.

One of 11 ‘foreign invites’ to the 1974 Masters, Bembridge opened with rounds of 73, 74 and 72, before a front-nine 34 on Sunday left him with a chance of making the top 20.

But then the Worksop-born star did the unthinkable, needing just 30 blows to make his way round Augusta’s notoriously tricky second half – a feat that had never before been achieved.

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It all added up to a 64 and a share of the course record with Jack Nicklaus and Lloyd Mangrum which wasn’t beaten until Nick Price edged it by one in 1986 for a 63 which was then matched by Greg Norman ten years later.

Just 11 of Bembridge’s 30 shots on that fateful afternoon were with the putter, and Peter Alliss called it “the greatest round in the history of the game”.

If that wasn’t enough, Bembridge had to fend off the local wildlife to ensure himself a spot in Augusta’s record books when, in the middle of the fairway on the 13th hole, he encountered a water moccasin snake.

“I walked up there and my caddie, Pappy, who had been at the club forever and a day was 50 metres away in the trees,” Bembridge told The PGA in an interview in 2020. “He said in his deep Georgian accent, ‘He’s going to get you, he’s going to kill you!’ I had a plane to catch so I got the longest club, which was a Slazenger blade two-iron, and came up from behind and bopped him on top of the head.

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“He wriggled about a bit and I caught him on the end of the club and tossed him into Rae’s Creek.

“Pappy was still 50 metres away, I didn’t know they are supposedly very dangerous.

“The shot looked like a two-iron anyway so I had the right club and I hit the front of the green and putted up to three or four feet and made another birdie.”

As you do.

Bembridge’s record-breaking round would see him finish in a tie for ninth, one of two major top-tens – the other coming at the 1968 Open.

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Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

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