35th Open - St Andrews 1895
72-hole victory for J. H. Taylor
No Englishman had previously won at the Home of Golf until JH Taylor was victorious in the first 72-hole Championship played at St Andrews. Taylor won for the second year in a row but while he had been a longtime leader at Royal St George’s a year earlier, it was his last round performance that sealed a four-stroke victory.
Poor putting led to a first round of 86 which left him six behind Harry Vardon and even though Taylor posted a 78 in the second round he was still five behind Sandy Herd, who was round in 77. Taylor got two strokes back with an 80 on the second morning to trail by three but in the afternoon the wind and rain got up.
The stockily-built Taylor had learnt his golf on the Royal North Devon links at Westward Ho! and used to plant his feet solidly in the ground and punch the ball under the wind with a flat, low swing. Grimly determined despite the driving rain, Taylor scored another 78, which was so good that no one else managed better than an 82. His nearest rivals certainly could not match the Englishman, with locals Herd and Andrew Kirkaldy scoring 85 and 84 to finish second and third respectively.
Taylor played the Loop in three 3s and three 4s, and not even 6s at the 13th and 14th holes could disrupt his progression. In three Opens, the 24-year-old had finished 10th, first and first, and would not be out of the top-ten until 1910. His quest for three victories in a row, however, was stymied by Vardon a year later. Herd, who had a 7 at the fifth and only one 3, at the short eighth, was runner-up for the second time and would have to wait until 1902 to claim the Claret Jug.
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