1895 U.S. Open Golf Championship: First Winner and Scores

The 1895 tournament was the inaugural event, the very first U.S. Open golf tournament played.

Winner: Horace Rawlins, 173

Where it was played: Newport Golf Club in Newport, Rhode Island

Tournament dates: October 4, 1895

Leader after first round: Willie Dunn, James Foulis and Willie Campbell, 89

What Happened in the 1895 U.S. Open

The golfers played four 9-hole rounds, which were combined into two 18-hole scores. The first U.S. Open champion was Horace Rawlins, who beat nine other golfers. Rawlins shot 82 in the second round (the combined scores of his third and fourth trips around the 9-hole course, which measured 2,755 yards), the lowest score of the tournament.

Rawlins was two off the lead after the first 18 holes with a 91. But that 82 over the second 18 vaulted him to the 2-stroke victory. Willie Dunn, one of the co-leaders after the first 18, shot 86 in the second round and finished in solo second place. For the win, Rawlins got $150 and a gold medal.

Fourteen golfers entered the first U.S. Open, but only the 10 whose scores are listed below completed the tournament. The four who entered but did not finish were Charles B. Macdonald, William Norton, Winthrop Rutherford and Lawrence Stoddart. The most-famous of the 14 entrants today is not the winner, Rawlins, but Macdonald, a renowned golf course architect. Macdonald withdrew from the 1895 U.S. Open after winning the U.S. Amateur that was played on the same golf course one day prior. (The Open and Amateur were played on the same course each of the first three years of their existences.) The Amateur is the tournament that actually got most of the fanfare; the first Open has been described as something of an afterthought by the USGA, which itself had only existed since December of 1894.

James Foulis, who tied for third place, won the following year in the 1896 U.S. Open, with Rawlins in second place. The 1895 U.S. Open was just the third tournament Rawlins had ever played in, but he had one big advantage over most of the others in the field: local knowledge. Rawlins was the assistant pro at the host course, Newport Country Club.

The U.S. Open remained 36 holes in length until expanding to 72 holes at the 1898 U.S. Open.

Final Scores

Horace Rawlins 45-46-41-41—173
Willie Dunn 43-46-44-42—175
James Foulis 46-43-44-43—176
a-Andrew Smith 47-43-44-42—176
William Davis 45-49-42-42—178
Willie Campbell 41-48-42-48—179
John Harland 45-48-43-47—183
John Patrick 46-48-46-43—183
Samuel Tucker 49-48-45-43—185
John Reid 49-51-55-51—206

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