The Azalea Open, Former PGA Tour Golf Tournament

The Azalea Open was a PGA Tour golf tournament that was played from the mid-1940s into the early 1970s, all but one of those years in North Carolina.

First played: 1945

Last played: 1971

The Azalea Open was held during the city of Wilmington's annual Azalea Festival, typically in April. For much of its history, this tournament preceded The Masters on the tour's schedule.

The fifth win of Arnold Palmer's career happened at the 1957 Azalea Open. Arnie got into a playoff in the 1958 tournament but, after calling a penalty on himself, wound up losing by a stroke to Howie Johnson.

The 1965 tournament also went to a playoff, and Dick Hart and Phil Rodgers had to play eight, sudden-death holes before Hart won it. At the time, that set a record (since broken) for longest sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history.

Al Besselink won the tournament as an amateur in 1946, but it wasn't an official PGA Tour event that year. In 1964, Besselink won it again, as a pro and as an official event.

Also known as: "Azalea" was almost always in the tournament title. The only exception was 1949, when it was called the Wilmington Open. Other names were Wilmington Azalea Open and Azalea Open Invitational.

Winners of the Azalea Open

1945 — Sam Byrd
1946 — a-Al Besselink
1947 — no tournament
1948 — no tournament
1949 — Henry Ransom
1950 — Dutch Harrison
1951 — Lloyd Mangrum, 281
1952 — Jimmy Clark, 272
1953 — Jerry Barber, 276
1954 — Bob Toski, 273
1955 — Billy Maxwell, 270
1956 — Mike Souchak, 273
1957 — Arnold Palmer, 282
1958 — Howie Johnson, 282
1959 — Art Wall, 282
1960 — Tom Nieporte, 277
1961 — Jerry Barber, 213
1962 — Dave Marr, 281
1963 — Jerry Barber, 274
1964 — Al Besselink, 282
1965 — Dick Hart, 276
1966 — Bert Yancey, 278
1967 — Randy Glover, 278
1968 — Steve Reid, 271
1969 — Dale Douglass, 275
1970 — Cesar Sanudo, 269
1971 — George Johnson, 274

Golf courses: The tournament was played at Mobile Country Club in Mobile, Alabama, in its first year, 1945. Every other year it took place, the Azalea Open was played at Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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