Second Open victory for Bob Martin
When Bob Martin won his first Open in 1876 over his home links of St Andrews the glory was somewhat tainted by the fact that he had tied with Davie Strath but been given a walk-over in the play-off. Strath was under threat of disqualification, but the committee refused to make its decision until after the play-off. Under these circumstances Strath declined to take part. Nine years later in 1885, when the championship was again played in St Andrews, there was no doubt about Martin’s victory, although it was a slim one. He scored five shots better than when he claimed his first title, with rounds of 84-87 for a total of 171.
Archie Simpson of Carnoustie had led the first round with an 83, the lowest score of the championship, but faltered in the afternoon with an 89 to lose by a single shot. His brother, Bob Simpson, was tied with two others on 174 which today would have seen them all sharing fourth place. But in those days play-offs were used to decide all places and he eventually dropped to sixth spot. The 1885 event had attracted the largest field the Open had ever known, with 51 players competing for a total of £35 in prize-money.