Jack Nicklaus, who had not won since 1980, captured the Colonial National Invitation today after sinking a birdie on the 16th hole while Andy North faltered in a dramatic two-shot swing.

Nicklaus, playing just ahead of North, sank a curling 25-foot birdie as coleader North was three-putting for bogey on No. 15. Nicklaus went on to complete the final round with a three-under-par 67 for a four-day total of 273.

North, who has not won since the 1978 U.S. Open, shot 72 for a 276. Jerry Pate had a final-round 71 for 277; Tom Kite finished fourth by closing with a 68 for 278.

Asked if the gallery pulling for Nicklaus bothered him, North replied, "He's done a couple of things to deserve that. . . it is kind of lonely out there when you are tied for the lead and only seven people are following you."

Nicklaus, 42, started the day by making birdie on the first two holes. He managed par on the difficult ninth green, which is fronted by a pond; the coleaders at that point dropped five shots on the hole. Danny Edwards went from six under to three under with a triple bogey by knocking two balls into the water and North fell to four under with a double bogey. North came back with two birdies on the back side before bogeying 15 and 16.

It was the 69th tour win for Nicklaus, who hadn't won a regular tour event since 1978, and was worth $63,000. His last victories were the 1980 U.S. Open followed by the PGA.