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Sometimes in golf two players contend so intensely and at such a high level that the rest of the field is left far behind. Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco, locked in fierce combat during the Masters, finished seven strokes ahead of Retief Goosen and Luke Donald.

The most famous of these isolation-by-brilliance matches was the 1977 British Open at Turnberry in Scotland. Paired together the last two rounds, Tom Watson shot 65-65 to nip Jack Nicklaus' 65-66 by one. Third place went to Hubie Green, who finished 10 strokes behind Nicklaus.

In the 1960 NCAA Individual Championship Tournament, Buffalo's own John Konsek (Purdue) edged Ohio State's Nicklaus, 282-284. The third-place finisher was 15 strokes back.

Such battles of titans, though rare, hold a special place in golf lore.

Dan Mattimore

West Seneca

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