24th Open - Prestwick 1884
Jack Simpson wins at Prestwick
When Jack Simpson won the 1884 Open at Prestwick it was the 16th time the Ayrshire course had staged The Championship but with a completely new layout. The old 12-hole course originally laid out by Old Tom Morris was gone. Old Tom returned in 1883 to extend it to 18 holes, bringing it into line with the Old Course at St Andrews. Seven of the original greens remained and many of the famous features, such as the Alps and the Cardinal Bunker, but the monster 578-yard first hole was gone. Now Opens at Prestwick would consist of two rounds of 18 to make up the 36 holes.
Simpson opened with a 78 which put him two ahead of the defending Champion Willie Fernie. He went out in 38 and finished with a 3 at the 18th. An 82 in the afternoon gales, again the lowest score of the round despite a 7 at the 13th and 5s at the last two holes, gave Simpson a total of 160 for the new layout. He won by four from Fernie, who closed with an 84, and Douglas Rolland, a stonemason from Elie who had rounds of 81 and 83. Willie Campbell, a future Prestwick professional, had rounds of 84 and 85 and finished nine strokes behind in fourth place, alongside future Open Champion Willie Park Jnr.
Simpson was part of a golfing family originally from Earlsferry in Fife but which moved to Carnoustie, where the family golf shop overlooks the 18th green. This was the only Open in which Jack finished better than 12th but his younger brother Archie was runner-up in both 1885 and 1890. Fernie had been second, first and second in the last three Opens and would be a runner-up twice more again.
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