Three in a row for the Musselburgh champion
Bob Ferguson learned to play golf over his home links at Musselburgh and by the age of 18 proved his prowess in competition by winning the first prize of £10 over four rounds of the seven-hole course at nearby Leith. But he had to wait until the age of 32 before he was successful in the Open Championship of 1880 over his home course. He won again the following year when he battled against gale force winds to beat his chief rival, Jamie Anderson, by three shots at Prestwick.
Yet by the time he arrived at St Andrews in 1882 to attempt the capture the title for a third successive time, his form seemed to have deserted him. He was always a man for the big occasion and a first round of 83 put him four shots ahead of Anderson, who had played well in the early part of the round but slipped badly on the way home. Ferguson was to maintain that four-stroke advantage over his great St Andrean rival in the afternoon, even though he scored no better than an 88 for a total of 171.
Anderson finished in a three-way tie for third as Willie Fernie, another native of St Andrews who was now professional at Dumfries, jumped ahead of him with a second round of 86 for a total of 174. The following year at Musselburgh Ferguson came close to winning his fourth consecutive title. But this time Fernie tied with him over the regulation holes and won the play-off with a long putt on the final green.