1949 U.S. Open Winner and Scores

The 1949 U.S. Open was the 49th time the tournament was played. It was the national coming-out for both its champion and for the golf course where it was played.

Winner: Cary Middlecoff, 286

Where it was played: Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois

Tournament dates: June 9-11, 1949

Leader after first round: Les Kennedy, 69

Leader after second round: Al Brosch, 141

Leader after third round: Cary Middlecoff, 211

What Happened at the 1949 U.S. Open

The 1949 U.S. Open was the first major championship played at Medinah Country Club, and the first major victory for Cary Middlecoff. Middlecoff, in the midst of a PGA Tour season in which he won six times, went on to win 39 PGA Tour titles total, including two more majors. But prior to this tournament, he had just six of those wins.

Middlecoff gained the upper hand in the tournament with middle rounds of 67 and 69. That gave him a 1-stroke edge over Buck White entering the final round. Middlecoff didn't play a great final round, shooting 75, but White shot 78 to fall four strokes back.

Middlecoff's primary final-round threats were Sam Snead and Clayton Heafner. Snead carded the best score of the three with a 70, but having started the final round six behind Middlecoff the Slammer came up a stroke shy. Snead never won a U.S. Open, the only major missing from his list of achievements, and this was one of four runner-up finishes in the tournament for him.

Heafner was paired with Middlecoff in the final round, and they traded the lead a few times. But Middlecoff took the lead for good at the 14th hole, and when Heafner missed a 6-foot birdie try on the final hole, Middlecoff had the win.

Two-time U.S. Open winner Ralph Guldahl played the event for the last time this year, finishing 22nd. The defending champion was Ben Hogan, but Hogan wasn't able to play. He was recuperating from a near-fatal automobile accident several months earlier. Hogan went on to win again in the U.S. Opens of 1950, 1951 and 1953. Byron Nelson, who was mostly retired since 1946, played the U.S. Open for the first time since then, but missed the cut (he entered only once more).

According to equipment maker Titleist, the 1949 U.S. Open was the first one at which a Titleist golf ball was the most-played ball among competitors.

The tournament was the first major played at Medinah, on its No. 3 course to be exact. Medinah went on to host again at the 1975 U.S. Open and 1990 U.S. Open, and has been the site of PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup since, as well.

1949 U.S. Open Final Scores

Cary Middlecoff 75-67-69-75—286
Clayton Heafner 72-71-71-73—287
Sam Snead 73-73-71-70—287
Bobby Locke 74-71-73-71—289
Jim Turnesa 78-69-70-72—289
Dave Douglas 74-73-70-73—290
Buck White 74-68-70-78—290
Pete Cooper 71-73-74-73—291
Claude Harmon 71-72-74-74—291
Johnny Palmer 71-75-72-73—291
Eric Monti 75-72-70-75—292
Herschel Spears 76-71-71-74—292
Al Brosch 70-71-73-79—293
Johnny Bulla 73-75-72-74—294
Lloyd Mangrum 74-74-70-76—294
a-Skee Riegel 72-75-73-74—294
Harry Todd 76-72-73-73—294
Ellsworth Vines 73-72-71-78—294
Fred Haas 74-73-73-75—295
Les Kennedy 69-74-79-73—295
Gene Webb 73-77-70-75—295
Ralph Guldahl 71-75-73-77—296
Jim Ferrier 74-75-74-74—297
Chick Harbert 70-78-75-74—297
Jack Isaacs 73-73-74-77—297
Horton Smith 72-75-74-76—297
Skip Alexander 76-72-77-73—298
Herman Barron 70-78-76-74—298
Sam Bernardi 80-69-76-73—298
Jack Burke Jr. 74-74-75-75—298
Charles Farlow 70-77-76-75—298
a-James McHale Jr. 72-76-74-76—298
Craig Wood 76-73-76-73—298
Lew Worsham 71-76-71-80—298
George Fazio 73-77-70-79—299
Leland Gibson 75-72-73-79—299
Sam Byrd 75-73-74-78—300
Vic Ghezzi 78-72-75-75—300
Mike Pavella 75-75-76-74—300
Jimmy Thomson 75-72-76-77—300
a-James Frisina 76-74-72-79—301
Bobby Cruickshank 71-75-79-77—302
Raymond Gafford 76-73-78-75—302
"Bus" Peele 71-79-75-77—302
a-John Wagner 72-77-79-76—304
Ray Hill 75-74-78-78—305
Otto Greiner 74-74-76-82—306

Previous and next:
1948 U.S. Open - 1950 U.S. Open

Popular posts from this blog

Ryder Cup Captains: The Full List