44th Open - Royal St George's 1904
White wins title at first three-day Open
Sunningdale professional Jack White, a nephew of Ben Sayers from North Berwick, won his only Open at Royal St George’s in 1904 when the final day saw record scoring. In the third round James Braid became the first player to break 70 in The Open. He went out in 31, with four 3s to the turn, and came in with a 69 to take the lead from Harry Vardon, who faded over the last 36 holes.
White, hunched over his tiny putter so that his hands were virtually level with his knees, then matched Braid’s record with his own 69 in the final round. In so doing, he became the first player over four rounds to improve his score each time. He had opened with an 80, five off the lead, and then followed with a 75 and a 72 before his terrific final round. He was also the first player to break 300 for The Open over 72 holes, posting the target at 296.
Braid’s one-shot lead had disappeared but he played steadily and came to the last with a chance to tie. However, he was told by spectators that he only needed a 4 to match White and facing a long first putt, he lagged it up close. Alas, his informants had been wrong and he was one short after a 71. JH Taylor did know he needed a 3 at the last to tie but his 30-footer just slipped by. He too was one short and it was little consolation that he had just set a new Open record of 68. He went out in 32, with a 2 at the third, and finished with five 4s in a row. Tom Vardon was fourth and Harry fifth, having spent most of the previous year since winning his fourth title convalescing from tuberculosis.
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