32nd Open - Muirfield 1892
The first four-round Open
Harold Hilton, the second amateur from Hoylake to claim the Claret Jug in three years, won the first Open staged at Muirfield and the first contested over 72 holes. The suggestion to extend the Championship, previously played over 36 holes in one day, appears to have arisen among a flurry of articles and letters appearing in Golf magazine following the 1891 Open.
The two day affair was held at the new home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, 20 miles east of Musselburgh, where they had previously staged six Opens on the nine-hole public course. Only opened nine months earlier, the layout did not do justice to the setting overlooking the Firth of Forth and would be much improved upon through its early years.
Hilton, finding it difficult to persuade his father to grant leave from the family business, only made a late decision to play, travelling up by train from the Wirral the day before. He started shakily with scores of 78 and 81, most of the damage done with an outward 45 after lunch, and was seven behind the halfway leader, another amateur Horace Hutchinson. While Hutchinson faded with 86 and 80 on the second day, yet another amateur, Hilton’s fellow club member John Ball, took the lead after a 74.
But Hilton had played the best round on the second morning with a 72 and was now only two behind. Ball, the Champion two years earlier at Prestwick, faded with a closing 79, sharing second place with Hugh Kirkaldy, the defending Champion, and Sandy Herd, who would be a runner-up four times over 28 years as well as the winner in 1902. Hilton closed with a round of 74 and could afford a 6 at the final hole and still win by three strokes on a total of 305. He would win again five years later.
|1||Harold HILTON (A)||ENG||78||81||72||74||305|
|2||John BALL JR (A)||ENG||75||80||74||79||308|
|7||Willie PARK JR||SCO||78||77||80||80||315|
|10||Horace HUTCHINSON (A)||GBR||74||78||86||80||318|