85th Open - Royal Liverpool 1956
Thomson completes a hat-trick of Open wins
With his victory at Royal Liverpool in 1956 Peter Thomson became the first player to win three successive titles since the Championship was extended to 72 holes. The last player to win The Open three times in a row was Bob Ferguson in 1880-82, while the feat was also achieved by Jamie Anderson (1877-79). Young Tom Morris won four in a row between 1868 and 1872, there being no Championship in 1871.
Thomson had won his first title by one stroke, his second by two and now his third by three from Belgium’s Flory van Donck. In a truly international field, Argentina’s Roberto de Vicenzo was third and South Africa’s Gary Player was fourth on his debut in The Open. John Panton was the leading home player in fifth place, while 49-year-old three-time Champion Henry Cotton tied for sixth place.
Poor weather made scoring tricky in the early stages but Denis Smalldon led with an opening 68 only to slump to a 79 the next morning when the conditions were at their worst. Player and Cotton both had 76s and van Donck a 74 but Thomson took advantage of being out in better weather in the afternoon to record a second successive 70. He was one ahead of de Vicenzo, who put himself out of contention with a 79 in the third round, when Thomson’s 72 extended his lead to three.
Both Thomson, after dropping shots early on but characteristically steadying himself, and van Donck had 74s on the final afternoon to give the 26-year-old Australian victory with a total of 286. De Vicenzo rallied with a 70 but could not quite catch van Donck, who had first played in The Open in 1938 and was to be a runner-up again on his last appearance in 1959.
|2||Flory VAN DONCK||BEL||71||74||70||74||289|
|3||Roberto DE VICENZO||ARG||71||70||79||70||290|