54th Open - Prestwick 1914
Vardon wins The Open for a record 6th time
Harry Vardon won his sixth Open at Prestwick in 1914, a record that still stands today. The previous year JH Taylor had won his fifth title to go level with James Braid and Vardon and in the last Open before WWI, the question was who of the Great Triumvirate could claim the record for themselves?
Although only one shot behind after the first round, Braid did not feature in the denouement. Vardon led with rounds of 73 and 77. James Ockenden was just one behind but did not contend on the last day. Taylor was two behind and was paired with Vardon for the last 36 holes. It was Taylor who took the initiative with a 74 to Vardon’s 78 in the third round to go ahead by two.
At the start of the final round Taylor, who was distracted by the large crowd, still managed to extend his lead to three. But then at the third hole, his concentration was broken by a photographer and he dropped a stroke. Now leading by two, Taylor fell apart at the fourth hole. His drive went into a bunker by the burn and, although his next came out, it was resting on the edge of the burn. Taylor then found the water with his next shot and took a 7 to Vardon’s 4.
Worse, his spirit was broken and he dropped strokes at the eighth, ninth, tenth and 11th holes to give Vardon a five-stroke lead. With a closing 78 for a total of 306, Vardon won by three strokes from his friend and rival. Harry Simpson took third place and Braid was tenth. Since Taylor’s first win in 1894, the Great Triumvirate had now won 16 Opens in two decades. A remarkable sequence was at an end.
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