52nd Open - Muirfield 1912
Ted Ray's power wins four-shot victory
Ted Ray never quite matched the success of his friend from Jersey, Harry Vardon, or the rest of the Great Triumvirate, who had won the last four Opens among them, but he did claim The Open at Muirfield in 1912. Like Vardon, Ray grew up in Grouville and first played golf and caddied on the local course. A victory by four strokes over five-time Champion Vardon must have been hugely satisfying. His was the first victory achieved by leading outright after each round since The Open was extended to 72 holes. Rory McIlroy became only the seventh Champion to achieve this in 2014.
Muirfield had been extended to a mighty 6,425 yards but Ray, in a tight-fitting jacket with a trilby hat firmly in place on his head, was a ferocious hitter. His advice for achieving greater distance was simple: “Hit the ball a bloody sight harder.” He had been in the top-six in each of the previous five years and led by one from George Duncan after an opening 71.
A 73 in the second round put him three ahead of defending Champion Vardon and a 76 gave him a record 54-hole score of 220 and a five-stroke lead over James Braid. Vardon had slumped to an 81 in the third round but rallied with a closing 71 to finish four ahead of Braid, who was third, with Duncan finishing fourth. Ray was out early in the fourth round and his supporters knew that a 75 for a total of 295 was not going to be beaten. Somehow they got the huge man on their shoulders and paraded him off in triumph. In 1920 he became the second British player after Vardon to win the US Open as well as The Open, something not matched until Tony Jacklin in 1970.
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