Golfer Antonio Cerda: One of Argentina's Greatest

Antonio Cerda is one of the best golfers ever to emerge from Argentina. He won multiple times on the precursor to the European Tour in the 1950s, and had two near-misses in British Opens of that era.

Date of birth: December 10, 1921

Place of birth: Ruio Cuarto, Cordoba, Argentina

Date and place of death: November 28, 2010 in Mexico City, Mexico

Nickname: European golfers, during Cerda's years playing in Europe, called him Tony, the Anglicization of Antonio.

Significant Wins by Antonio Cerda

  • 1944 Cordoba PGA Championship
  • 1948 Argentine Open
  • 1950 Spanish Open*
  • 1951 German Open*
  • 1952 Argentine PGA Championship
  • 1952 German Open*
  • 1952 Belgian Open*
  • 1952 Spalding Tournament*
  • 1955 Yorkshire Evening News Tournament*
  • 1955 Panama Open
  • 1955 Jamaican Open
  • 1956 Argentine Open
  • 1956 Dutch Open*
  • 1956 Italian Open*
  • 1958 Mexican Open
Victories marked with an asterisk (*) denote wins in tournaments that are precursor events to today's European Tour. Note that the 1952 Spalding Tournament win was a tie; Cerda shared the title with Harry Weetman.

Two of the biggest tournaments in Argentina (and two events that are still played today) are the South Open and Center Open. Cerda won each multiple times — the South Open in 1950 and 1955; the Center Open in 1952, 1953 and 1956.

Cerda In the Majors

Antonio Cerda never played the U.S. Open or PGA Championship, and played The Masters four times with a best finish of 24th. But he was a regular contender in the British Open for a brief period.

From 1951 through 1957, Cerda was never outside the Top 9 in the Open. That included five consecutive Top 5 finishes (1951-55). He finished solo second in the 1951 British Open and tied for second in the 1953 British Open.

In 1951, Cerda began the final round six strokes behind the leader Max Faulkner, and outplayed Faulkner in the final round. But his 70 to Faulkner's 74 wasn't enough to catch the leader. In 1953, Cerda carded a final-round 71, but Ben Hogan's 68 gave him the victory in his only Open appearance.

More About Antonio Cerda

Roberto De Vicenzo was a bigger star than countryman Antonio Cerda, but in the 1950s, with De Vicenzo playing mostly at home, it was Cerda who Argentina's (and South America's) best player in Europe.

Cerda's two runner-up finishes in the Open Championship mean he just missed becoming the first South American golfer to win a major. De Vicenzo finally did it in the 1967 Open.

Cerda teamed with De Vicenzo to win the inaugural World Cup (then called the Canada Cup) for Team Argentina in 1953. He played for Argentina three more times in 1950s.

"Cerda was a fine player and exceptional teacher of the game." — Gary Player

Around 1960, Cerda moved to Mexico. He repped Mexico in the World Cup multiple times in the 1960s. Once in Mexico, Cerda stopped playing the Open Championship and other European tournaments, and made a few appearances on the PGA Tour.

But from that time until his death, Cerda mostly focused on golf instruction.

Cerda was known as a strong putter. He also, Peter Alliss said, played a lot of intentionally thinned shots to produce low, running trajectories — a style of play that may help explain his success in the British Open.

His son, also named Antonio Cerda, played in more than 250 PGA Tour events mostly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He had seven Top 10 finishes before he, too, became a golf instructor in Mexico.

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