55th Open - Royal Cinque Ports 1920
Duncan gallops to Open victory
George Duncan recovered from 13 strokes behind at the halfway stage to win the 1920 Open at Royal Cinque Ports at Deal. A remarkable turnaround in fortunes also meant a crushing collapse for Abe Mitchell, who had led by six strokes after 36 holes.
Mitchell opened with rounds of 74 and 73, making a hole-in-one at the eighth in the afternoon. Duncan, in contrast, had started with a pair of 80s before going to the Exhibition Tent and purchasing a driver that changed his fortunes the next day.
Out early, Duncan had a 71 in the third round, news of which reached Mitchell just prior to teeing off himself. The Englishman left an 18-inch tap-in six inches short at the first, dropped further shots at the next two and had an 8 at the fifth. He crashed to an 84 and Len Holland took over the lead but the force was with Duncan and the Scot closed with a 72 to post a total of 303. The 52-year-old Sandy Herd had a 75 to finish two behind, while Ted Ray was third and Mitchell, after a 76, was fourth, a result he would never better at The Open.
The first Open after WWI was the first under the permanent administration of The R&A, which had taken over sole responsibility from the host clubs. Deal had been due to stage The Open in 1915 but this was the second and last time it played host. More Opens were scheduled for the Kent links but winter flooding and the outbreak of WWII quashed these plans and it fell off the rota. It was at this Open that Walter Hagen parked a Daimler in front of the clubhouse and changed his shoes in it, having been told that the clubhouse was only for amateur players.