Herd Triumphs Using New Rubber Cored Ball
The 1902 Open was held at Hoylake. Despite slicing his first two shots out of bounds, Harry Vardon set the early running with a superb 72 and at the end of the first day was four shots clear of Sandy Herd, who was using the new rubber cored ball, and Ted Ray. James Braid was five back and J.H. Taylor eight. Herd put his whole game together in the third round and shot a 73 while Vardon and Braid went round in 80 and Ray in 85. Taylor made up some ground with a 77.
Going into the final round Herd had a three stroke advantage over Vardon and was eight shots clear of Taylor and Braid. As had happened too often in the past, Herd followed a good round with a poor one. Approaching and putting weakly, he went around in 81, giving him a total of 307. Meanwhile Vardon had rallied and at the 72nd hole needed a six foot putt to tie with Herd. Vardon’s putt reached the lip of the cup and then stopped stone dead on the edge of the hole. It was not yet over. Braid, who had started the round eight strokes behind, had been making up ground. He arrived at the last green needing a medium-length putt to tie for the championship, but he narrowly missed the hole and Herd was the champion with a score of 307.