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Bobby Jones

A Ticket to History…

Following rounds of 72, 72 and 73, Bobby Jones returned to his hotel in between rounds to ease his tension and to assess his 2-shot deficit to fellow American Al Watrous.

On returning to the recently awarded ‘Royal’ venue, Jones discovered that he had forgotten his competitors’ ticket and a fastidious security guard refused his entry. He calmly visited a pay gate and gained entry as a spectator.

Standing on the 15th tee Jones was still trailing by two but after picking up two strokes to forge a tie, Jones’ drive on the challenging 17th hole found a sand scrape area. From the dunes, Jones hit a remarkable recovery shot onto the green, closer than Watrous’ approach. After Watrous three-putted, Jones wound up taking the decisive lead in the Championship. His final five-hole performance across the challenging final stretch saw Jones record a fourth round of 74, enough to claim a two-stroke victory over his fellow American. It was first of three Open Championship victories, proceeding to claim a further two claret jugs in 1927 and 1930.

Bobby Jones Scores: 72, 72, 73, 74 Total 291
Bobby Locke

An Icy Calm Figure…

Often renowned for his icy calm nature, Bobby Locke won the 81st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The Championship was staged from the 9 – 11 July.

Claiming the third of his four claret jugs, Bobby Locke finished one stroke ahead of runner-up Peter Thomson, who would go on to win the next Open Championship held at the Club (1958). This was the first of seven consecutive Opens in which Thomson finished as champion or runner-up.


Locke had to work hard both on and off the course for his 3rd Claret Jug. Rising early for the final 36 holes of the Championship, the South African found the garage, in which his car was stored, locked with his clubs in the boot. Fortunately for him a passing milkman knew the owner and gave Locke a lift to get the key. Locke arrived at the course with just enough time to change his shoes and walk to the first tee.

Bobby Locke Scores: 69, 71, 74, 73 Total 287
Peter Thomson

The End to the Finest of Series…

1958 was to be the final time Thomson was crowned Champion Golfer in an incredible run of seven years where he was either first or second in The Open, capping what is arguably the finest series of finishes in Open Championship history.

The recorded scores by Peter Thomson and Welshman Dave Thomas set a new record for the lowest four round totals in the history of the championship. This shared achievement resulted in a 36-hole playoff for the 87th Open Championship. On the Saturday a playoff ensued.

Thomson was four up after seven holes but Thomas had reduced the lead to one at lunch. After a turbulent first 7 holes the scores were level with Thomas regaining the stroke deficit. It was on the 8th green, overlooking the infamous railway line, where Thomson holed from 8 feet while Thomas missed a shorter one. Thomson proceeded to capitalise on his opponent’s short misses and after the completion of the 11th hole, Thomson had gained a four shot lead which he held to the end.

Peter Thomson Scores: 66, 72, 67, 73 Total 278
Bob Charles

The First of Many…

The 92nd Open Championship had fairways roped off and saw caddies wear bibs for the first time. Most importantly it was the first time that a left-handed golfer claimed a major title.

In a star packed field containing legends such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and amateur Michael Bonallack, it was the smooth swinging Kiwi, Bob Charles, that claimed an impressive victory exhibiting one of the finest putting displays ever witnessed. Coming into the event as hot favourite Jack Nicklaus stayed in contention but dropped shots at the last two holes which proved costly. Meanwhile four rounds weren’t enough to separate Charles and the American Phil Rodgers and a playoff ensued. Whilst there were many first-time changes at the 92nd Open Championship there was one sizable last, that being the last time a playoff would be carried out over 36 holes.

On the greens Charles was relentless recording 11 one-putts in the opening 18 holes. In his rounds of 69-71 Charles had just the 56 putts, which was enough to see him lift his only claret jug.

Bob Charles Scores: 68, 72, 66, 71 Total 277
Tony Jacklin

What a corker…

The 98th Open Championship, although described as a momentous turning point for British and European golf was led after 2 rounds by familiar face Bob Charles, the last winner of an Open staged at Royal Lytham.

Trailing by three strokes, Jacklin’s third round 70 was enough to give him a two-stroke lead going into the final round. By his own admission, Jacklin’s third round score included some poor shots in the latter part of his round. His score was indebted to a superb short game display, which included just 29 putts. Indeed, Jacklin’s putting all week was a key factor in his victory with a total of 25 single-putts during his four rounds and only one three putt (which came at the 71st hole).

As the golfing world tuned in on coloured TV for the first time who could forget the famous words Henry Longhurst used to describe Jacklin’s drive down the 18th hole; ‘Oh what a corker! My goodness that was a fine drive. It’s gone for miles!’

Tony Jacklin Scores: 68, 70, 70, 72 Total 280
Gary Player

The Dark Knight…

In blustery conditions, the South African shared the first round lead with Englishman John Morgan, who would later go on to become Head Professional at Royal Liverpool, one of the other Open Championship venues found on England’s Golf Coast.

In true Lytham fashion a traumatic finish ensued with three bogeys in the last four holes. Despite this, it was enough to give him a final round score of 70 and a four-stroke win over Oosterhuis, with Jack Nicklaus pipping Hubert Green for fourth place thanks to a birdie at the last.

LYTHAM, ENGLAND – JULY 1974: Gary Player of South Africa poses with the Claret Jug following his victory during The 103rd Open Championship held at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club from July 10-13, 1974 in Lytham, England. (Photo by R&A via Getty Images)

A quarter of a century after his first major win, Player was still showing he had an abundance of enthusiasm and dedication to produce his very best golf. With his triumph, he shared with Harry Vardon the distinction of claiming the title in three separate decades and became just the fourth player after Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to win the Masters and The Open in the same year.

Gary Player Scores: 69, 68, 75, 70 Total 277
Seve Ballesteros

The Car Park Champion…

The 108th Open Championship was the last time the Championship final round would be held on a Saturday. It was however the beginning of Seve Ballesteros major haul and the first of three Open victories.

Former Champion Golfer Roberto de Vicenzo advised Ballesteros that the rough at Lytham was less thick the closer to the green you got. The Spaniard developed his game plan around this advice and, infamously, at the 16th hole in the final round launched a huge drive that found an overflow car park to the right of the fairway. Ballesteros got a free drop, pitched onto the green and holed a 20-foot putt for a birdie.

On his way to a second round 65, Seve’s finish on the feared finishing stretch on the second day was extraordinary with a sequence of four birdies in the last five holes. Overall, his unique strategy was successful – he won by three strokes from Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw, who had a double bogey at the 17th – yet the Spaniard was often referred to (much to his dislike) as the “car park” champion.

Seve Ballesteros Scores: 73, 65, 75, 70 Total 283
Seve Ballesteros

Bowing Out with Grace…

In 1988 for a final time, Seve Ballesteros would claim a major title, doing so in spectacular fashion.

For the first time in history, weather forced the Championship to be completed on a Monday. The final trio, comprised of three past and future Champion Golfers who would put on a golfing display for the ages. Starting the day two ahead of Seve and Nick Faldo, Nick Price played the six holes from the sixth to eleventh in four under par. However, after Seve played them in six under par Price would find himself one behind.

The fine exhibition continued and on the last, Ballesteros stood holding a one-shot lead. A pulled approach shot would leave a challenging chip across the green. The Spaniard hit a wondrous chip to six inches, claiming the claret jug in the process. Upon reflection, Ballesteros said “So far, it is the best round of my life,”

Summarising the final round dual Price said: “It was a thrill to play to this standard. When you are beaten by somebody, especially the way he played, you bow out gracefully.”

Seve Ballesteros Scores: 67, 71, 70, 65 Total 273
Tom Lehman

The Greatest Day of my Life…

Whilst a young Tiger Woods claimed the Silver Medal, his first prize at a major championship, the eyes of the golfing world honed in on Tom Lehman.

It was some 70 years earlier that fellow American Bobby Jones claimed his first claret jug, and the 125th Open Championship was to be Lehman’s first and only major championship.

Moving into the third round of the championship, Lehman had a monumental task to equal the 54-hole scoring record previously set by Nick Faldo. Something monumental followed. Lehman recorded the lowest score at Royal Lytham in major championship history, a 64. The phenomenal round saw his record 198 strokes for the first 54 holes, which up until 2019 remained the lowest in Open Championship history.

The special exhibition of golf from Lehman meant that he had a six-stroke leading heading into the final round. Despite returning a final round of 73 Lehman described it as “…not pretty but it was gritty,” adding that “It was a struggle but I stuck it out. It really is the greatest day of my life.”

Tom Lehman Scores: 67, 67, 64, 73 Total 271
David Duval

The illusive Major…

Whilst many of the headlines from the 130th Open Championship related to Ian Woosnam’s catastrophe on the 2nd Tee when his caddie discovered the famous 15th Club, it was David Duval who claimed the title and his elusive major.

In 1999, Duval had briefly surpassed Woods as world number 1 but a major title had proved elusive until a superb weekend performance at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Duval roared to the top of a bunched leaderboard with a 65 on Saturday, joining Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Alex Cejka, with a further 15 players within two strokes.In the final round, Duval birdied four of the first 11 holes on the way to a 67 and a three-shot win over Niclas Fasth, who also had a 67. The fearsome final five holes at Royal Lytham proved no match for Duval’s effortless golf. He described his second shot on the 15th hole from 210 yards as. “One of the best shots I’ve ever hit,”

Having claimed his first major, Duval gave one of the most humble winning speeches in Open Championship history.

David Duval Scores: 69, 73, 65, 67 Total 274
Ernie Els

A Grand Ovation…

As Ernie Els approached the 18th Green, the 2012 Open Champion received a grand ovation, which just a few moments later was eclipsed when his 15-foot birdie attempt sunk to the bottom of the cup.

The birdie would see Els move into contention, but the destiny of the Claret Jug lay in the hands of the Australian Adam Scott, who on the first day equalled the course record 64. After a third-round 68 Scott took the overall lead. Wielding a broom-handled putter, Scott started nervily on Sunday. The final day was the first with any notable breeze, and with a birdie at the 14th he was four ahead with four to play, surely putting to bed the destiny of the claret jug.

Having bogeyed the next three holes, Scott stood on the 18th tee level with the smooth swinging South African. Knowing that a par would force a playoff, Scott drove into one of the fairway bunkers. After executing an admirable third stroke to eight feet. His par attempt narrowly slipped by the right lip, leaving the Claret Jug in the hands of Els for the first time in ten years. Only Henry Cotton has taken longer to regain the Jug.

Afterwards he described his win as “Amazing, I’m still numb,” he said. “It’s just crazy. I really feel for my good buddy, Scottie.”

Ernie Els Scores: 67, 70, 68, 68 Total 273