1939 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Winner and Scores

The 1939 U.S. Open was the 43rd time the tournament was played. Byron Nelson was the winner, but he had to play 36 playoff holes before claiming the trophy.

Winner: Byron Nelson, 284

Where it was played: Philadelphia Country Club in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

Tournament dates: June 8-12, 1939

Leader after first round: Sam Snead, 68

Leader after second round: Sam Snead, 139

Leader after third round: Johnny Bulla, 211

What Happened in the 1939 U.S. Open

His win at the 1939 U.S. Open was the ninth of Byron Nelson's 52 career wins on the PGA Tour, and the second of his five career major championship victories (after the 1937 Masters).

It was also one of two 36-hole playoffs in the U.S. Open for Nelson. Here, Nelson, Craig Wood and Denny Shute tied at 284 and went into an 18-hole playoff. Nelson and Wood were still tied after shooting 68s (Shute had a 76) and so they continued for another 18. Then Nelson shot 70 to Wood's 73 to win.

In the 1946 U.S. Open, Nelson was on the losing end of a 36-hole playoff won by Lloyd Mangrum (and also involving Vic Ghezzi). The playoff here was also the second time Wood and Shute faced each other in a playoff for a major championship. Shute defeated Wood in a 36-hole playoff to win the 1933 British Open.

Nelson, Wood and Shute all got into the playoff thanks to a major mistake by Sam Snead on the 72nd hole of the tournament. Snead never won the U.S. Open, finishing second four times. Here, he was in great position to win. All Snead needed was a par of 5 on the last hole. Unfortunately, Snead was under the impression he had to birdie the last hole to win (there were no giant scoreboards next to every hole back in these days, and the leaders didn't automatically tee off last). He got aggressive, drove the ball into rough, and by the time the hole was over he'd used eight strokes for a triple bogey. Snead finished in fifth place, two strokes out of the playoff.

Nelson was five strokes off Johnny Bulla's lead when the final round began. He then shot 68, making an 8-foot putt on the 72nd hole to post 284 as the clubhouse leader. Wood birdied the final hole to match Nelson, while Shute parred (after making bogey on the 17th hole) to also finish on 284. (Bulla scored 76 and finished three strokes out of the playoff.)

The playoff was scheduled for 18 holes. Shute was never a factor, scoring 76. But Nelson and Wood matched 68s. Wood had a putt to win on the 18th, but missed. So those two played another 18 holes.

And in the second 18, Nelson was in control from early. Wood double-bogeyed the third hole, then Nelson holed out for an eagle on the par-4 fourth hole. Nelson was then able to cruise to a 3-stroke win, 70 to 73 (138 to 141 for the full 36 playoff holes).

Ben Hogan finished third from the bottom, tied for 62nd, among players who made the cut. But he did the make cut, and it was Hogan's first cut made in a U.S. Open. The low amateur, Bud Ward, finished in fourth place, one stroke out of the playoff.

1939 U.S. Open Final Scores

Byron Nelson 72-73-71-68—284 (68-70—138)
Craig Wood 70-71-71-72—284 (68-73—141)
Denny Shute 70-72-70-72—284 (76-x)
a-Bud Ward 69-73-71-72—285
Sam Snead 68-71-73-74—286
Johnny Bulla 72-71-68-76—287
Ralph Guldahl 71-73-72-72—288
Dick Metz 76-72-71-69—288
Ky Laffoon 76-70-73-70—289
Harold "Jug" McSpaden 70-73-71-75—289
Paul Runyan 76-70-71-72—289
Harry Cooper 71-72-75-72—290
Ed Dudley 76-72-73-69—290
Henry Picard 72-72-72-74—290
Horton Smith 72-68-75-76—291
Sam Byrd 75-71-72-74—292
Olin Dutra 70-74-70-78—292
Clayton Heafner 73-73-66-80—292
a-Wilford Wehrle 71-77-69-75—292
Jimmy Hines 73-74-77-69—293
Johnny Rogers 75-70-69-79—293
Tommy Armour 70-75-69-80—294
Jimmy Demaret 72-76-72-74—294
Johnny Revolta 73-76-71-74—294
Bobby Cruickshank 73-74-73-75—295
Jim Foulis 73-75-77-70—295
Dutch Harrison 75-72-74-74—295
Matt Kowal 69-76-75-75—295
Vic Ghezzi 73-71-76-76—296
Ed "Porky" Oliver 75-77-72-72—296
Felix Serafin 80-72-71-73—296
Al Espinosa 75-73-74-75—297
Alvin Krueger 71-77-73-76—297
Ray Mangrum 71-74-81-71—297
Jim Turnesa 75-74-75-73—297
Art Bell 73-75-79-71—298
Leo Walper 74-75-79-70—298
Terl Johnson 73-76-76-74—299
a-Edwin Kingsley 76-75-73-75—299
Frank Moore 73-70-77-79—299
Sam Parks Jr. 73-73-77-76—299
Billy Burke 74-74-77-75—300
William Francis 78-74-74-74—300
Gene Kunes 76-73-75-76—300
Lawson Little 69-74-76-81—300
Frank Walsh 74-75-76-75—300
Joe Belfore 76-76-68-81—301
a-Otto Greiner 77-73-77-74—301
Gene Sarazen 74-72-79-76—301
Pat Sawyer 75-75-77-74—301
a-Willie Turnesa 77-74-76-74—301
Bruce Coltart 78-73-80-71—302
Tom Creavy 72-78-77-75—302
Al Houghton 73-76-76-77—302
Ted Luther 73-75-77-78—303
Tony Manero 74-76-78-76—304
Lloyd Mangrum 70-74-81-79—304
Ted Turner 75-74-80-76—305
George Von Elm 72-77-76-81—306
Norman Von Nida 79-73-72-82—306
a-Edward Meister Jr. 71-76-81-79—307
Ben Hogan 76-74-78-80—308
George Slingerland 74-78-81-75—308
Frank Gelhot 74-76-78-81—309

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