There was more interest in the 1870 Open than any before simply because Young Tom Morris, at the age of 19, was going for his third successive win.
Not only did he achieve it, claiming the Challenge Belt as his own as the original deeds demanded, but won by 12 strokes, just one shy of the record set by his father eight years earlier.As the previous year, there appeared to be an unstoppable force about his golf.
In 1869 Young Tom had recorded The Open’s first hole-in-one. In 1870, he started with the first ever 3 at Prestwick’s 578-yards opening hole.
Two good hits left him with a blind third shot of 200 yards. His ball just carried the Cardinal Bunker and then hit the flagstick and dropped into the hole. A huge roar reverberated around the links, telling his opponents that they may well be playing for second place once again.
He opened with a 47 on the 12-hole course, improving on his course record from 1868 by two strokes. He led by five strokes, stayed that far in front with a 51 in the second round and then added another 51 for a total of 149.It beat his own record total by five strokes and was the lowest score ever while The Championship was contested over 36 holes.
Davie Strath, who had a 49 in the second round, and Bob Kirk shared second place on 161, with Old Tom Morris a shot further back. Young Tom had won three Opens in a row by a combined margin of 26 strokes, and, cumulatively, was 35 strokes better than the next best, his father.
With a new Champion so overwhelmingly installed, perhaps it is no surprise there was no rush to provide another trophy, which led to there being no Championship in 1871.