38th Open - Prestwick 1898
Vardon pips Park
Harry Vardon won his second Open, and the first of three at Prestwick, in 1898 by overhauling the longterm frontrunner Willie Park Jnr by a single stroke.
It was nine years since Park had won the second of his two titles but he shared the lead with defending Champion Harold Hilton after first-round 76s and then stayed in front after 36 and 54 holes. Vardon opened with a 79 but improved with a 75 in the afternoon, matching Park’s score, to be three behind at the halfway stage.
Vardon went out first among the leaders on the second day. He made an excellent 30-foot putt from next to the dyke at the third and despite a 7 at the 15th returned a 77. Park took 6 at the first hole, when he bunkered his approach shot, and another 6 at the 10th hole. But he also finished strongly on 78, giving him a two shot lead over Vardon going into the last round.
Vardon saved his best for last, closing with a 76 for a total of 307 with an outstanding 3 at the final hole. From an awkward lie, he carried the bluff and the bunker and then sank an eight-foot putt. Park had 6s at the first and third holes and was still ahead until he bunkered his drive at the 10th and took 6. At the last he needed to two-putt from long range to tie but left himself a three-footer. Vardon stood among the spectators as Park, who had the reputation of being one of the finest putters in the game, lined up his shot.
Vardon could not see through the crowd, but he knew from their reaction that Park had missed the putt. Hilton took third place, three ahead of JH Taylor in fourth.
|2||Willie PARK JR||SCO||76||75||78||79||308|
|3||Harold HILTON (A)||ENG||76||81||77||75||309|
|5||Freddie TAIT (A)||GBR||81||77||75||82||315|