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1939 Open Championship

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Dates  5–7 July 1939
Par  73
Location  St Andrews, Scotland
Cut  150 (+4)
1939 Open Championship
Course(s)  Old Course at St Andrews
Field  129 players, 34 after cut

The 1939 Open Championship was the 74th Open Championship, held 5–7 July at the Old Course at St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland. Dick Burton of England won his only major title, two strokes ahead of runner-up Johnny Bulla. The purse was £500 and the winner's share was £100. It was the last Open played for seven years.

Qualifying took place on 3–4 July. Entries played 18 holes on the Old Course and 18 holes on the New Course. As in 1938 the number of qualifiers was limited to a maximum of 130. Ties for 130th place did not qualify. For the first time a prize of £20 was awarded to the professional with the lowest qualifying score. The qualifying score was 156 and 129 players qualified. The Irish amateur James Bruen led the qualifiers on 138 with Henry Cotton next on 142. The maximum number of players making the cut after 36 holes was increased from 40 to 44. Ties for 44th place did not make the cut. 11 players tied for 35th place and so only 34 players made the cut.

Despite taking an 8 at the 14th hole, Bobby Locke of South Africa opened the tournament on Wednesday with a round of 70 (−3), tying Burton for the lead. In the second round, Locke again found trouble on 14, and after a ball out of bounds fell out of the lead. John Fallon of Scotland was the surprise leader after 54 holes by two shots, but he could not cope with the strong winds and fell back to 3rd place with a final round 79 (+6).

Bulla, the only American to make the 36-hole cut, began the final round on Friday afternoon four strokes behind Fallon. At the 2nd hole he hooked his drive over the parallel 17th fairway and into a railway yard; he finished with a round of even-par 73 and established a clubhouse lead of 292, even par. Burton, setting out just as Bulla was finishing, needed a 72 to win the title and came to the 18th needing a par four. He hit a drive over 300 yards (270 m), pitched to 15 feet (4.6 m), and then holed the putt for a birdie 3 and a two-shot win.

The previous three Opens at St Andrews had been won by Americans; Burton was the first Briton to win the Open at the Old Course since 1910, won by James Braid of Scotland. Since Burton's 1939 win, the sole British winner at St Andrews was Nick Faldo of England in 1990. Burton enlisted in the Royal Air Force shortly after his win.

This was the last Open played for seven years, until 1946. World War II started in September 1939 and caused the cancellation of the tournament from 1940 through 1945. Birkdale Golf Club had been nominated as the venue for the 1940 Championship. It did not host the Open Championship until 1954.

Final leaderboard

Friday, 7 July 1939


1939 Open Championship Wikipedia

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