PGA Tour Kentucky Derby Open Tournament

The Kentucky Derby Open was a men's professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour in the 1950s. It was played in late April or early May, just before or just after the weekend of the Kentucky Derby horse race.

This tournament took place only three times, in 1957, 1958 and 1959. But a couple of significant things happened here.

Most importantly, Gary Player's first career PGA Tour win happened in the 1958 Kentucky Derby Open. He won by three strokes over the runners-up, Chick Harbert and Ernie Vossler.

One year earlier, Billy Casper was the tournament's first champ, beating Peter Thomson by one stroke. It was Casper's third career win on the PGA Tour.

The tournament's last winner, Don Whitt, took this tournament one week after winning the Memphis Open. Those were his only PGA Tour wins, and they were back-to-back.

The Kentucky Derby Open was the site of an infamous incident in 1957 when multiple players intentionally posted high scores in order to miss the cut and get a jump on their travel to the next tour stop. All were suspended by the PGA Tour, although those suspensions were later lifted. One of them, George Bayer, ensured he would miss the cut by using his 7-iron to chip his ball up the hole on the 17th, scoring a 17 on the hole.

Winners of the Kentucky Derby Open

1957 — Billy Casper, 277
1958 — Gary Player, 274
1959 — Don Whitt, 274

Golf course: All three years, the tournament took place at Seneca Golf Course, a municipal golf course in Louisville, Kentucky.

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