A year after Old Tom Morris became the oldest winner of The Open, Young Tom Morris became the youngest ever Champion at Prestwick in 1868.
He was 17 years and 156 days, almost four years younger than anyone else ever to win The Championship. And to achieve his victory, Young Tom not only produced record scoring by defeat his own father by three strokes.
This was his fourth Open and he had grown up at Prestwick where his father was the greenkeeper before moving back to St Andrews. Young Tom produced a 51 in the opening round on the 12-hole course, the lowest score yet achieved in The Open.
He led by two from Bob Andrew but it was the veteran rivals, Old Tom and Willie Park Snr who showed they were not finished by setting a new record of 50 in their second rounds.Old Tom now led Young Tom by one after the son’s 54 in the second round.
It was in the final round, however, that Young Tom proved he had come of age as a Champion. His father tried to keep pace, hoping experience would count for something when the pressure was on.
But Young Tom produced four 3s in five holes from the seventh and although he had shots in hand at the last, he went for the green in two and made his 4.
He had closed with a 49, a new record, and posted a total of 154 which was eight strokes better than the old record of 162 posted by the late Andrew Strath in 1865.
Old Tom closed with a 53 for 157, Andrew was third and Park fourth. It was the first of four successive wins by the young Champion.