PGA Tour Professional
Mike Souchak was born in Berwick, Pa. In 1927 he moved to North Carolina to play football at Duke University and Durham then became his home for the next twenty-two years. He was a standout lineman and kicker; however, he could also play a decent game of golf and it was the latter to which he eventually turned to make his fame and fortune.
He turned professional in 1952 after leaving the US Navy and looked as though he would win many major championships. He was a likeable bear of a man with massive strength and a fine rhythmic swing, who won sixteen PGA tour events between 1955 and 1961, including three in 1955 and four in 1956. His consistently good showing earned him a place on the 1959 and 1961 US Ryder Cup Teams. At this writing Mike still holds the PGA 72 hole scoring record (60-68-64-65-257; 27 under par!) and shares the nine-hole record of 27, both scored in the Texas Open of 1955 at the Brackenridge Park Country Club in San Antonio.
Although he never won any of golfs four majors, he came very close to winning three consecutive US Opens. In 1959, at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY , he had four solid rounds of 71-70-72-71-284, which placed him in a tie for third place two shots behind the winner Billy Casper. The following year at Cherry Hills he had his best showing. He led through the first three rounds with scores of 68-67-73-208 was two ahead of Julius Boros and seven in front of Arnold Palmer. However, in the final round Palmer made one of his famous charges and fired at 65 to Mikes 75. Mike was again tied for third place at 283 - three shots back. Finally in 1961 at Oakland Hills he played well with rounds of 73-70-68 (one shot back at this point), but his closing round of 73 (total 284) placed him in a tie for third place for the third consecutive year and for the second year three shots back.
Since retiring from the tour he served as head pro at Oakland Hills and helped develop and build the Innisbrook Complex at Tarpon Springs , Florida . He has also played in a few PGA Seniors events.
Mr. Souchak was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1984.
A partial listing of his tournament victories:
The Texas Open
The Houston Open
The Colonial Open
The Buick Open
1959 - 61
Member Ryder Cup Team
The Western Open
The Tournament of Champions
The San Diego Open
The Greater Greensboro Open
The Memphis Classic