Armour Pierces the Field at Carnoustie
The 1931 Open Championship was the first to be played at Carnoustie. The American Johnny Farrell, Henry Cotton and the unheralded William Twine shared the lead on 72 after the first round.
Cotton held onto a share of the lead with the Argentinian Jose Jurado after the second round, with both on a score of 147. One stroke behind them was the Scottish born, naturalised American, Tommy Armour. A third round 79 saw Cotton slip back into the pack, six shots off the pace. Jurado shot 73 to open up a three shot lead over the chasing Macdonald Smith and Arthur Havers, who were both three shots behind. Farrell and Reg Whitcombe were four shots back. Armour, Percy Alliss and Gene Sarazen were all five shots behind.
In the final round, Alliss set an early pace with a clubhouse total of 298. His final round of 73 was marred by a shaky finish when he needed eleven strokes to play the 17th and 18th holes. Armour was the next of the contenders to finish and in doing so he matched the course record with a 71, playing the last three holes in 3, 4, and 5 respectively for a total of 296. Jurado was out on the course when Armour finished and he needed to complete his round in 75 to take the lead.
The Argentinian reached the turn in 36; however the back nine proved to be fraught with danger for him and a litany of dropped shots followed, but without any spectacular disasters. Nevertheless, he used up all of his shots in hand and arrived at the 17th tee needing to finish with a pair of 5s to tie with Armour. Jurado played too cautiously off the tee and drove his ball into the burn 130 yards in front of him. He landed in a bunker off his third shot and took a further three to get down. Now needing to play the 18th in four shots, he hit a good tee shot and then played short of the burn. He pitched onto the green within about nine feet of the hole, but the putt for the tie just missed and Armour was the champion.