78th Open - Royal St George's 1949
Locke benefits from Bradshaw's bottle incident
Bobby Locke became the first South African to win The Open at Royal St George’s in 1949, beating Harry Bradshaw in a 36-hole play-off by 12 strokes after the pair had tied on a total of 283. It was the first of four titles for Locke, but the Irishman’s best chance of claiming the Claret Jug was not helped by a bizarre incident in the second round.
On the fifth hole Bradshaw pushed his drive into the rough and his ball ended up in the bottom of a broken beer bottle. Unsure of the rule – he was entitled to relief but the wording at the time was ambiguous – and there not being a referee nearby to consult, Bradshaw shut his eyes tight and swung at the bottle. With glass shattering everywhere, he moved his ball around 25 yards and ended up with a 6. It took him a few holes to regain his composure and ended with a 77.
Both Bradshaw and Locke were five behind going into the last day and produced morning rounds of 68 to share the lead with Max Faulkner. The Englishman fell away with a 74 and Roberto de Vicenzo took third place with a 69. Bradshaw set the target with a 70 but after going out in 32, Locke kept dropping shots and had to birdie the 17th, with a 7-iron to eight feet, to force the tie.
Locke was scintillating in the play-off, scoring rounds of 67 and 68 for a 135 total, while Bradshaw scored 74-73. At the 14th in the morning, where Locke had gone out of bounds in the first round, the South African hit a 4-iron from 200 yards to a couple of feet for an eagle-3, while Bradshaw took a 6. The gap only grew and grew after that.
|3||Roberto DE VICENZO||ARG||68||75||73||69||285|