37th Open - Royal Liverpool 1897
Hilton becomes 2nd amateur to win The Open
Becoming the second venue in England to host The Open, the Royal Liverpool Club at Hoylake staged its first Championship in 1897, when Harold Hilton won for a second title. It could not be more fitting that one of the host club’s own star players should be the Champion, Hilton becoming the first amateur to win the Claret Jug twice. The only other amateur to win The Open was John Ball, also a club member, and he shared the first-round lead with Sandy Herd before fading on the second day.
Hilton had rounds of 80 and 75 on the first day to trail James Braid, who had a second-round 74, by a stroke. Both men struggled in the third round with Braid having a 82 to lead by two from Sandy Herd, George Pulford and amateur Freddie Tait, with Hilton three back after an 84.
Hilton was out early in the final round and came home in 37 for a 75 to post a total of 314. Braid was out in 40 but started the back nine well but went over the green at the 16th into a nasty lie and took a 6, where Hilton had earlier had a 5. He matched Hilton’s 5 at the 17th and came to the last needing a 3 to tie. While Hilton played billiards in the clubhouse to stave off the nerves, Braid hit a terrific approach shot which came within a foot of the hole but ran on 20 feet past. He missed the putt back and finished with a 79 to lose by one. Tait was third for the second year running, alongside Pulford, with Herd dropping to fifth.
While Braid went on to win five Opens, Hilton never won again, but he did win four Amateur Championships and the US Amateur in 1911.
|1||Harold HILTON (A)||ENG||80||75||84||75||314|
|3||Freddie TAIT (A)||GBR||79||79||80||79||317|