61st Open - Royal Lytham & St Annes 1926
Bobby Jones - first Open victor at Lytham
Bobby Jones claimed the first of his three Open titles at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1926 thanks to one of the greatest shots ever played. But the American amateur made history even before arriving in Lytham. For one year only, qualifying was on a regional basis and Jones was allocated to play at Sunningdale. He went round the Old Course in 66, with matching halves of 33, and 33 long shots and 33 putts, and added a 68 on the New.
Lytham had just received its royal status from George V in time for its first Open. The Championship was extended to three days and for the first time gate money was charged to try and control spectator numbers. Other than at St Andrews in 1921, when neither won, this was the only other Open when both Jones and Walter Hagen played – despite winning seven titles in nine years between them.
Hagen opened with a 68 but had a 77 the next day and Jones was sharing the halfway lead after two 72s. He fell two behind American professional Al Watrous, who had a 69, after three rounds and that was still the gap with five holes to play. Jones, playing alongside Watrous, then played Lytham’s tough closing stretch in 4-3-4-4-4. It was superb golf.
At the 17th, with his opponent on the green, Jones played from a sandy scrub area, blind behind a dune, with a mashie-niblick, from 175 yards. The shot was a wonder, not only landing on the green but finishing inside Watrous, who was so shaken that he promptly three-putted. With a 74, Jones had won by two from Watrous and four from Hagen and George von Elm. A few weeks later, Jones became the first player to win both The Open and the US Open in the same year.
|1||Bobby JONES (A)||USA||72||72||73||74||291|
|3||George VON ELM (A)||USA||75||72||76||72||295|