The Background

On May 4, 1978 Mark James shot an opening round 73 at the Italian Open – a respectable score considering the lowest round of the day was 70.

But 24 hours later it was a whole different story. James’ hard work was brutally undone on the back nine of a turbulent second round, partly due to an injury in his left wrist.

The Scene

Having been fined £50 for withdrawing with a knee injury in an event a year prior, James didn’t want to risk the same outcome.

Instead, he played the remaining few holes one-handed in a total of 51 shots. This meant he signed for a final score of 111 and therefore missed the cut shooting 40 over par after two rounds.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of this sorry tale is the fact James didn’t even finish last. That honour went to Francois Berthet who shot 94-96 to finish a whopping 46 over for the tournament.

The Legacy

James still holds the highest 18 hole score in European Tour history, but he got over it in some style, going on to win 17 more times on the European Tour.

He also finished in a tie for 3rd at the 1981 Open Championship at Royal St George’s and was involved in eight Ryder Cups as a player and captain.

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