The 1949 Open Championship was the 78th Open Championship, held 6–9 July at Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Bobby Locke of South Africa won the first of his four Open titles in a 36-hole Saturday playoff, 12 strokes ahead of runner-up Harry Bradshaw of Ireland. It was the first playoff at the Open since 1933.
It was planned to play the Championship at Royal Cinque Ports but the course was flooded in early 1949 and the venue was switched to Royal St George's. Royal Cinque Ports was retained as a venue for one of the qualifying rounds.
Qualifying took place on 4–5 July. Entries played 18 holes at Royal St. George's and 18 holes at Royal Cinque Ports. The number of qualifiers was limited to a maximum of 100. Ties for 100th place would not qualify. The qualifying score was 154 and 96 players qualified. Harry Bradshaw led the qualifiers scoring 139 with Bobby Locke next on 140. The maximum number of players making the cut after 36 holes was again set at 40. Ties for 40th place did not make the cut.
The total prize money was increased from £1,000 to £1,500. The winner received £300 with £200 for second, £100 for third, £75 for fourth, £50 for fifth and then £20 each for the next 35 players. The £1,500 was completed with a £15 prize for winning the qualification event and four £15 prizes for the lowest score in each round. For the first time a silver medal was awarded to the first amateur.
On a day of low scoring Jimmy Adams led after the opening round with 67. Locke was in a tie for 4th place despite taking 7 at the 14th, cutting his tee shot out of bounds. After two rounds Sam King had the lead on 140, Adams dropping back after a 77. At the 5th hole Harry Bradshaw's ball finished in a broken beer bottle. He decided to play it, getting the ball clear but dropping a shot on the hole. With 11 players tying on 148 just 31 made the cut at 147.
After the morning rounds on Friday there were three players tied for the lead on 213: Bradshaw, Locke and Max Faulkner. Charlie Ward and King were just a stroke behind. Bradshaw was in one of the early groups and had a final round of 70 to take the lead on 283. Playing 40 minutes later Locke reached the turn in 32 but took five at the 10th, 14th and 15th and then 3-putted the short 16th. However he then holed a 10 foot putt at the 17th for a birdie 3 and holed from 4 feet for a par at the last to tie with Bradshaw. None of the later players in contention could get close to Bradshaw and Locke. Roberto De Vicenzo had a good last round of 69 to take third place. His chances were spoilt by an inward half of 40 in the morning which had left his three strokes behind.
In the playoff, both players started well but Locke had a three shot lead after 13 holes. At the 520-yard 14th hole, Locke put his second shot stone dead for a three while Bradshaw found a bunker and eventually took six. Locke's lead was thus extended to six and then to seven at the end of the morning round. The lead quickly extended to 10 after two holes of the afternoon round as Bradshaw started 6-5. Bradshaw gained a shot at the 9th and 11th but Locke eventually won the playoff by 12 strokes.