West Palm Beach Open Invitational

The West Palm Beach Open Invitational was a PGA Tour tournament in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but both before and after it was a 54-hole, non-tour event. Arnold Palmer was its biggest-name champion.

First played: 1954

Last played: 1972

The tournament drew some big names in 1955 in 1956, before it was part of the PGA Tour. For example, in 1956 Gardner Dickinson outdueled Sam Snead in the final round to win. Beginning in 1957, the event joined the PGA Tour, expanding to 72 holes. It remained part of the tour for six years, through 1962. In 1963 it reverted to non-tour status and was played only once more after that.

The biggest name in tournament history was Arnold Palmer's. His win in 1959 was the 13th of his PGA Tour career. He won a playoff over Gay Brewer and defending champion Pete Cooper, Palmer's third PGA Tour via playoff.

A year earlier, Cooper had won the 1958 tournament at 269, which was the tournament record for its tour years. The other man in that playoff with Palmer, Brewer, won the tournament in 1961. He beat the runner-up — Palmer — by four strokes.

Also known as: In the years in which the tournament was not part of the PGA Tour, it was known as the West Palm Beach Open, or WPB Open for short.

Winners of the West Palm Beach Open Invitational

(In years marked with an asterisk, the tournament was not part of the PGA Tour.)

1954* — Lloyd Wadkins, 215
1955* — Al Besselink, 218
1956* — Gardner Dickinson, 208
1957 — Al Balding, 209
1958 — Pete Cooper, 269 (def. Wes Ellis in playoff)
1959 — Arnold Palmer, 281 (def. Gay Brewer, Pete Cooper in playoff)
1960 — Johnny Pott, 278
1961 — Gay Brewer, 274
1962 — Dave Ragan, 277 (def. Doug Sanders in playoff)
1963* — Jim McCoy, 219
1964-71 — No tournament
1972* — Wilf Homenuik, Dave Oakley, 142 (sudden-death playoff stopped by darkness, not completed)

Golf course: The tournament was always played at West Palm Beach Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Today, it is a public course known as West Palm Beach Golf Course.

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