Shawnee Open, Early PGA Tour Golf Tournament

The Shawnee Open was part of the PGA Tour for a couple decades during the earliest years of the professional tour's existence. Its roster of winners includes many of the biggest names from that era in American golf.

First played: 1912

Last played: As a PGA Tour event, in 1937

The Shawnee Open was played in Pennsylvania. In fact, it is still played today, but has not been part of the PGA Tour since 1937. (Today, the tournament is a PGA of America sectional event, sponsored by the Philadelphia Section of the PGA.)

The tournament actually pre-dates the formation of the PGA of America. In 1912, the inaugural champ, Fred McLeod, won despite an opening-round 85.

Johnny Farrell won most often, three times, during the tournament's PGA Tour years. In 1922, Farrell tied the then-course-record of 67 (first established by Jim Barnes in 1919) in the final round to win. His third victory happened in 1927 with a record-low score of 279 and a record margin-of-victory of 10 strokes.

Something that allegedly happened in the 1927 Shawnee Open: Tommy Armour, a week after winning the 1927 U.S. Open, carded a single-hole score of 23 (sometimes reported as 21 or 22) in the third round. But that, it turns out, is just a legend (Armour actually made an 11 on the hole in question).

The Shawnee Open was 72 holes in length, but played over just two days: 36 holes on Day 1, 36 holes on Day 1. In 1923, George McLean def. Harry Hampton in an 18-hole playoff that took place immediately after the final round. That means on Day 2, those two golfers had to play 54 holes.

The same thing happened the very next year when, because of an 18-hole playoff, Leo Diegel and Willie Macfarlane had to play 54 holes on Day 2. Diegel won that playoff with a 69. And in 1925, it happened a third year in a row. This time Macfarlane won the playoff, beating Willie Klein, 71 to 75.

PGA Tour Winners of the Shawnee Open

1916 — Walter Hagen, 298
1917 — Eddie Loos, 290
1918 — Not played
1919 — Jim Barnes, 285
1920 — Jim Barnes, 287
1921 — Willie Ogg, 298
1922 — Johnny Farrell, 288
1923 — George McLean, 288 (def. Harry Hampton in playoff)
1924 — Leo Diegel, 287 (def. Willie Macfarlane in playoff)
1925 — Willie Macfarlane, 283 (def. Willie Klein in playoff)
1926 — Johnny Farrell, 289
1927 — Johnny Farrell, 279
1928 — Willie Macfarlane, 291
1929 — Harry Cooper, 294
1930 — Ed Dudley, 282
1931 — Not played
1932 — Not played
1933 — Not played
1934 — Not played
1935 — Not played
1936 — Ed Dudley
1937 — Lawson Little, 284

The PGA of America was formed in 1916, giving rise to a tournament circuit that eventually became known as the PGA Tour. But the Shawnee Open was played four times prior to 1916, and these are those winners:

1912 — Fred McLeod, 313
1913 — Johnny McDermott, 293
1914 — Isaac Mackie, 305
1915 — Gil Nicholls, 295

Golf course: The Shawnee Open was played at the The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania. The golf course opened in 1911 and was the very first golf course designed by legendary golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast. Sam Snead was the resident pro there in the 1930s, and Arnold Palmer met his first wife Winnie there in 1954, when she was working in the clubhouse. The 1938 PGA Championship was played at Shawnee Resort.

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