1959 British Open Tournament Winner and Scores

The 1959 British Open was the 88th time the tournament was played. A golfer who went on to become a legend won his first major championship here: Gary Player.

Winner: Gary Player, 284

Where it was played: Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland

Tournament dates: July 1-3, 1959

Leader after first round: Fred Bullock and Arnold Stickley, 68

Leader after second round: Fred Bullock, 138

Leader after third round: Fred Bullock and Sam King, 212

What Happened in the 1959 Open Championship

Twenty-three-year-old Gary Player won his first major championship title at the 1959 British Open. He did it with a comeback that almost collapsed on his final hole.

Player was 10 strokes off the lead at the 36-hole point. He shot 70 in the third round, which brought him within four of the lead, but left him in a tie for 10th place. Ahead of Player after 54 holes were, among others, leader Fred Bullock, Flory Van Donck tied for third, and amateurs Reid Jack and Michael Bonallack tied for fifth.

Then Player went out and attacked Muirfield in the final round. He reached the 72nd green needing a par to shoot 66. Instead, he hit into a greenside bunker and 3-putted for a double bogey. Player wound up with a 68 and posted 284. He thought he had lost the tournament.

But he hadn't, because the golfers still on the course weren't taking advantage of Player's final-hole stumble. Bullock shot 74 and Van Donck 73 to finish at 286. Jack closed with a 74 and Bonallack a 76.

Player's 284 held up, and he had his first win in a major. His victory here is also credited as Player's second PGA Tour victory.

Jack's tie for fifth place was the best finish by an amateur in the British Open from this point until Justin Rose tied for fourth in 1998. Bonallack played the Open Championship for the first time this year, and he played it 12 more times after, but never finished as high as his tie for 11th here. He went on to become one of the most important figures in golf, serving over the years as secretary of the R&A, captain of the R&A, chairman of the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, president of the PGA of Europe, president of the English Golf Union, and president of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association, along with serving on many advisory committees including the one that helped create the World Golf Rankings.

For Van Donck, meanwhile, this was, at age 47, his final British Open appearance. Van Donck won a lot during the 1950s and earlier all over Europe. But he never won the Open. His runner-up here was one of two second-place finishes for him. In the 10 British Opens from 1950-59, Van Donck placed in the Top 10 eight times. In his last five appearances in the Open, he had two seconds and finished in the Top 5 each time.

1959 British Open Final Scores

Gary Player 75-71-70-68—284
Fred Bullock 68-70-74-74—286
Flory Van Donck 70-70-73-73—286
Syd Scott 73-70-73-71—287
a-Reid Jack 71-75-68-74—288
Sam King 70-74-68-76—288
Christy O'Connor Sr. 73-74-72-69—288
John Panton 72-72-71-73—288
Dai Rees 73-73-69-74—289
Leopoldo Ruiz 72-74-69-74—289
a-Michael Bonallack 70-72-72-76—290
Ken Bousfield 73-73-71-73—290
Jimmy Hitchcock 75-68-70-77—290
Bernard Hunt 73-75-71-71—290
Arnold Stickley 68-74-77-71—290
Peter Alliss 76-72-76-67—291
Harry Bradshaw 71-76-72-72—291
Antonio Cerda 69-74-73-75—291
Harry Weetman 72-73-76-70—291
a-Guy Wolstenholme 78-70-73-70—291
Neil Coles 72-74-71-75—292
Jean Garaialde 75-70-74-73—292
Harold Henning 73-73-72-76—294
Geoffrey Hunt 72-73-74-75—294
Reg Knight 71-71-74-78—294
Peter Mills 75-71-72-76—294
J.R. Moses 72-73-73-76—294
Peter Thomson 74-74-72-74—294
Jimmy Adams 71-74-75-75—295
Tom Haliburton 74-69-74-78—295
Bobby Locke 73-73-76-73—295
Peter Shanks 76-70-75-74—295
Eddie Whitcombe 71-77-74-73—295
Hugh Lewis 73-73-78-72—296
Norman Drew 71-77-75-74—297
Eric Lester 73-71-78-75—297
Charlie Ward 78-70-73-76—297
a-Joe Carr 72-73-74-79—298
Miguel Angel Martin 73-75-73-77—298
Christie Kane 77-69-77-76—299
Henry Cotton 71-75-77-77—300
Jack Hargreaves 72-74-79-75—300
a-George Low 75-73-78-74—300
Ralph Moffitt 74-72-76-78—300
John Sharkey 74-74-74-78—300
Juan Querelos 76-72-80-73—301
John More 72-75-76-79—302
Ray Hayden 75-72-77-79—303

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