1864 British Open: Old Tom's Third

The 1864 British Open was the fifth one played. Old Tom Morris was the winner, his third championship in the first five years of the tournament's existence.

Winner: Tom Morris Sr., 167

Where it was played: Prestwick Golf Club, Ayrshire, Scotland

Tournament dates: Sept. 16, 1864

Leader after first round: Tom Morris Sr., 54

Leader after second round: Tom Morris Sr., 112

What Happened in the 1864 British Open

Old Tom Morris was the winner of the 1864 British Open, which was the fifth time the tournament was played. Of those first five Opens, Morris won three and Willie Park Sr. (who finished fourth this year) won two.

The first golfer other than Old Tom or Park Sr. to win an Open was the runner-up here, Andrew Strath, who claimed the 1865 British Open.

Only six professionals entered the 1864 Open. Ten other golfers, all amateurs, entered, but they either failed to finish or their scores are not known to history. As with all the first 11 Opens played, the 1864 one took place on the 12-hole links at Prestwick, and golfers played it three times (36 holes total). All play took place on Sept. 16.

At the time of the 1864 Open, Morris Sr. held the position of greenskeeper at Prestwick. The following year Morris went to St. Andrews as steward of what we now call The Old Course.

As for Park Sr., he would have been right in the mix, fighting Morris for another title, if not for a score of 67 in the second round — tied for highest score of the tournament among the scores returned and recorded for history. Morris and Park had finished 1-2 or 2-1 in every Open to this point; Strath's runner-up finish ended their monopoly on the top two spots.

1864 British Open Final Scores

Tom Morris Sr. 54-58-55—167
Andrew Strath 56-57-56—169
Robert Andrew 57-58-60—175
Willie Park Sr. 55-67-55—177
William Dow 56-58-67—181
William Strath 60-62-60—182

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