1949 British Open Ended After 36-Hole Playoff

The 1949 British Open was the 78th time the tournament was played, and it ended with a 36-hole playoff. But before that, a broken beer bottle played a key role in the tournament.

Winner: Bobby Locke, 283

Where it was played: Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England

Tournament dates: July 6-9, 1949

Leader after first round: Jimmy Adams, 67

Leader after second round: Sam King, 140

Leader after third round: Bobby Locke, Harry Bradshaw and Max Faulkner, 213

What Happened at the 1949 British Open

From 1946 to 1948, South African Bobby Locke won 11 times on the US PGA Tour, including a 16-stroke win at the 1948 Chicago Victory National (still the PGA Tour record for largest winning margin). Then, in a dispute over playing obligations, the USPGA banned Locke.

What did he do? He returned to Europe and won the 1949 British Open, the first of Locke's four wins in the Open Championship. In so doing, he became the first golfer from South Africa to win one of the sport's four major championships.

Another of the all-time greats showed up early at this Open: Roberto De Vicenzo played the British Open for just the second time in 1949. And just like his tournament debut in 1948, De Vicenzo finished third here. The Argentine missed a playoff by two strokes. De Vicenzo would go on to record eight Top 6 finishes in the British Open before finally winning it in 1967.

Locke and Harry Bradshaw both finished at 283 to force a playoff. The R&A's tournament history notes an incident from the second round that cost Bradshaw dearly: Bradshaw's drive on the fifth hole missed the fairway ... but found the bottom of a broken beer bottle!

He should have taken a free drop, but Bradshaw was unsure how to proceed, and there were no rules officials handy in those days. So instead, he blasted out (with eyes closed, according to the R&A, and glass flying everywhere). The ball went about 25 yards and Bradshaw made a 6 on the hole. Bradshaw shot 77 in that round to Locke's 76. They ended the second round tied, then matched scores over the final 36 holes.

Locke and Bradshaw met in a 36-hole playoff the next day, and it was no contest: Locke won by 12 strokes, 135 to 147. Locke opened with a 67 to Bradshaw's 74, then shot 68 (and Bradshaw 73) in the second playoff round. Locke went on to win the 1950, 1952 and 1957 Opens, as well.

Max Faulkner shared the third-round lead with Locke and Bradshaw, but shot 74 and finished in joint sixth.

Percy Alliss, one of the top English golfers of the 1920s and 1930s, played in the British Open for the last time this year and missed the cut. He never won it, but did have 10 Top 10 finishes, with a best of third. His son, Peter Alliss, made his Open Championship debut the previous year. But another of Percy's sons, Percy Alexander Alliss (known as Alec), played in the 1949 Open as an amateur, the only time he played the Open.

1949 British Open Final Scores

Bobby Locke 69-76-68-70—283
Harry Bradshaw 68-77-68-70—283
Roberto De Vicenzo 68-75-73-69—285
Sam King 71-69-74-72—286
Charlie Ward 73-71-70-72—286
Max Faulkner 71-71-71-74—287
Arthur Lees 74-70-72-71—287
Jimmy Adams 67-77-72-72—288
John Fallon 69-75-72-72—288
W.D. Smithers 72-75-70-71—288
Ken Bousfield 69-77-76-67—289
Bill Shankland 69-73-74-73—289
a-Frank Stranahan 71-73-74-72—290
William Branch 71-75-74-71—291
Dick Burton 73-70-74-74—291
John Knipe 76-71-72-72—291
Walter Lees 74-72-69-78—293
Alan Waters 70-76-75-73—294
Norman Sutton 69-78-75-73—295
Reg Horne 73-74-75-74—296
Arthur Lacey 72-73-73-78—296
Gregor McIntosh 70-77-76-73—296
William McMinn 70-75-78-73—296
E.A. Southerden 69-76-74-77—296
James Wade 71-74-77-75—297
H.E. Osborne 73-74-75-76—298
Johnny Bulla 71-73-76-79—299
Ugo Grappasonni 70-76-77-77—300
Ernest Kenyon 72-75-77-77—301
G.M. White 74-71-80-78—303
a-Francis Francis 72-74-82-79—307

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