Cotton Wins for the Second Time
The 1937 Open Championship was played at Carnoustie. Ed Dudley, one of the American Ryder Cup team members playing in The Open, was the first round leader with a score of 70. Reg Whitcombe moved into the lead after the second round, holding a two shot advantage over his brother Charles and Dudley. Henry Cotton was tied for 6th, five shots adrift.
The final two rounds of the Championship were played in a steady, cold, downpour. A third round score of 74 saw Reg Whitcombe maintain a two stroke lead over his brother Charles whilst Cotton moved up to third place, three shots behind.
Reg Whitcombe was out early in the fourth round and seemed very concerned about how wet the grips of his clubs were getting. At the 7th tee, his driver seemed to slip out of his hands in the middle of his down-swing and he topped the ball. It slithered all of about 40 yards and finished in the rough. He ended up taking a six at the hole, which would ultimately prove decisive. He finished the round on 76 for a total of 292.
Cotton, who was playing behind Whitcombe, was aware that he needed a 72 or better to take the lead. Playing excellent golf despite the conditions, Cotton made up the necessary ground and arrived at the 18th needing a six to win. His second shot found the bunker at the edge of the green, but he was down in five to post a total of 290. Only Charles Whitcombe could realistically catch Cotton if he shot a 72, but he could manage no better than a 76. As the afternoon wore on, the greatest danger to Cotton was that the course would be declared unplayable because of the amount of water lying on it and the round cancelled. The course remained playable — only just — and Cotton was declared The Open Champion.