48th Open - Prestwick 1908
Braid romps to 4th Open title setting new scoring record
James Braid won his fourth Open at Prestwick in 1908 to draw alongside Willie Park Snr, Old Tom Morris, Young Tommy Morris and his contemporary Harry Vardon for the most Championship victories. Although Ernest Gray had set a new course record of 68 in the first round, Braid led all the way after that to win by eight strokes from Tom Ball and by ten from Ted Ray. He did so with a new record total of 291, five better than Jack White in 1904, the only other Champion to break 300 for 72 holes.
Gray had a 79 in the second round when Braid, after rounds of 70 and 72, established a five-stroke lead. Braid had a very shaky start to his third round. He was short with his approach shot at the first and took 5. At the third hole he found the rough off the tee and failed to carry the Cardinal Bunker with a clerk. His next shot hit the sleepers and went out of bounds and he then repeated the process after a drop. In the end, he was down for an 8. After three-putting the fourth, he began his recovery. He had a 2 at the fifth and was out in 39, finishing with a 77. On 219, Braid had still extended his lead to six over Ball and Ray.
Ball, from Hoylake but no relation of the great amateur John Ball, went out in 33 in the final round but came home in 41 for a 74, while Ray had a 76. It was the first of consecutive runner-up finishes for Ball, while it was Ray’s best finish prior to his victory in 1912. Braid was back to his steady best in a final round of 72, playing the last six holes in nothing more than a 4.