David Brown was a little known Musselburgh golfer who was a slater by trade and had only played in The Open twice before, both when it was played in his home town.
He was fourth in 1880 and 24th in 1883 so was not one of the favourites, who included Willie Fernie, the last winner at Musselburgh Links, but not Bob Martin, who was not defending his title after his victory at St Andrews the previous year.
Yet Brown’s steady play brought him a two-stroke victory over Willie Campbell, also of Musselburgh. Campbell started well and was on 78 after two loops of the nine-hole course, level with John Lambert, with Brown just one behind after scores of 38 and 41.
In the third round Brown was in fine form, scoring a 37 with a 2 and two 3s over the last three holes. He added a 41 in the last round, overcoming three 6s in the first five holes with three 3s to finish, and with 78 for the final 18 holes posted a total of 157.
Campbell found a number of bunkers and was distracted by the large gallery as he scored a 42 in the last round and returned 81 for the last 18 holes. A year later, having moved to be the professional at Prestwick, Campbell would suffer a bunker disaster that would deny him another chance at the title.
Ben Campbell was third and Willie Park Jnr was fourth for the third year running, though he would win twice in the next three years.
Fernie finished in eighth place. Brown was ninth when defending his title at Prestwick and then fourth at Musselburgh Links in 1889. Later he went to America and lost the 1903 US Open in a play-off to Willie Anderson.