Hilton Becomes 2nd Amateur to Win The Open
The 1897 Open was played at Hoylake. J.H. Taylor never found his form in the first round and finished on 82; Harry Vardon putted poorly on the fast greens to end up on 84. Harold Hilton and James Braid both played steady golf to finish on 80, while Sandy Herd and John Ball finished on 79 to lead the field. In the second round, Braid played brilliant golf to finish on 74 while Hilton went round in 75.
At the end of 36 holes, Braid was on 154, with Hilton one back and Freddie Tait four back. Taylor was eight shots behind and Vardon ten. In the third round, both Braid and Hilton played indifferent golf and finished in 82 and 84 strokes respectively. Hilton went out in 38 in the final round. Coming home in 37, he finished on 314. This left Herd and George Pulford needing a 75 and Braid a 78 to win. Herd and Pulford put themselves out of contention on the front nine, taking 40 and 41 strokes. Braid was also out in 40 and needed to come home in 38, which was not out of the question. With three holes left, Braid was level and needed to play those in 14 or under. However, his third shot at the 16th overshot the green leaving him with a nasty lie and he took six to get down. After a five at the 17th, he needed to get down in three at the 18th.
Braid hit his second shot with an iron right on line toward the flag. It came within a foot of the hole and then rolled passed it, stopping some six to eight yards from it. Braid missed the putt and Hilton was the Champion with a score of 314.