Nicklaus appeared to have a berth in the finals sewed up until he chopped up the par-5 17th, probably the easiest hole he designed on the Castle Pines Golf Club course.
Instead of having a qualifying spot in his hands, he had the ball in his hands after hitting two unplayable shots, "I've had enough of this hole," he said, put an "X" on his card and went on.
Under the modified Stableford scoring system used for this tournament, a double bogey, and anything higher, costs a player three points. In Nicklaus' case, he dropped from seven points and a berth in the 18-man final round to four points.
He needed to birdie the final hole to have any chance and ran a 20-foot putt some five feet beyond the cup, then missed it coming back for a three-putt bogey that left him with three points.
Nicklaus finished in a four-way tie for 34th, worth $5,275 from the total purse of $1 million. That was enough to make him the first man to reach $5 million in career earnings. He's now at $5,002,825.
He finished with six birdies, three bogeys, one double bogey and one "X." There were three unplayable lies, two left-handed shots, one hit spectator and one shot in the water.
Bruce Lietzke led the 18 qualifiers with 14 points, marking the second time in as many years he's tied the tournament record and putting him in the finals for the third consecutive year. Jodie Mudd and Ben Crenshaw each had 13 points.
At Somers Point, N.J., first-round leader Beth Daniel used some excellent bunker play to post a 2-under par on the front nine Saturday and held a two-stroke edge over Debbie Massey in the uncompleted second round of the LPGA Atlantic City Classic.
The round was suspended twice for almost 31/2 hours when a steady rain made some greens unplayable and play was finally called by darkness with 66 of the 131 players still on the course.
Daniel, who had an opening-round 66, did not tee off until 5:20 p.m. EDT and was only able to play nine holes before play was called as she stood ready to tee off on No. 10. She was 7 under par after 27 holes.