45th Open - St Andrews 1905
Braid escapes the railway to capture second Open
James Braid was born in Elie, 12 miles from St Andrews, and there were 4,000 people on hand to cheer a local man to victory in the 1905 Open. It was Braid’s second title, having finished second, fifth and second again since his first win at Muirfield in 1901. Many years earlier he had been a young boy watching former Champion Jamie Anderson play at Elie. When Anderson watched the youngster hit balls, he said Braid might be a future Champion if he kept practising.
Old Tom Morris was still going strong at 83 and was the official starter, although he had retired from looking after the Old Course. Recent changes had introduced a number pot bunkers which the players disliked and dismissed as “spittoons”. With strong winds on the first day, no one beat 80. In fact there were only 11 scores in the 70s all tournament and Braid had two of them. After rounds of 81 and 78, another 78 in the third round put him six clear of the field. A closing 81 gave him a five-stroke victory over Wimbledon’s Rowland Jones, the halfway leader after a 77 in the second round, and JH Taylor, the winner of the last two Opens at St Andrews.
Braid twice went onto the railway line on the 15th and 16th holes, costing him a 6 on each occasion. The tracks were not then out of bounds and at the 16th, having been in a bunker off the tee, his second shot finished against metal support. His first attempt moved the ball only a few feet and his next went over the green. He then played a terrific chip-and-run to a couple of inches to limit the damage. Braid received so many letters of congratulation that he post a note of thanks in Golf Illustrated.