Portland Open Invitational (Old PGA Tour Tournament)

The Portland Open Invitational was a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour that was played beginning in the last years of World War II and ending in the mid-1960s. It was played in Portland, Oregon, and was the site of some record-setting performances, plus one of Jack Nicklaus' earliest wins.

First played: 1944

Last played: 1966

The Portland Open Invitational was played over a long timespan, but with a big gap: The tournament skipped most of the 1950s. The tournament was established by the weathly Oregon businessman Robert Hudson, who also revived the Ryder Cup by sponsoring that competition's first post-war effort, the 1947 Ryder Cup.

The first winner was Sam Snead in 1944 and the last was Bert Yancey in 1966. Yancey's victory was notable because he used only 102 putts over the 72 holes, which stood as the PGA Tour record for fewest putts in a 72-hole tournament until 1977.

The Portland Open Invitational's biggest winners, however, were Billy Casper and Jack Nicklaus, with three victories each. Casper's were consecutive in 1959-61. Nicklaus won in his rookie year as a pro, 1962, plus in 1964 and 1965. Nicklaus' 1962 win was just his third as a member of the PGA Tour. His win in 1965 pushed his season earnings to $134,045, which was the PGA Tour's all-time record then.

Ben Hogan set the tournament's 72-hole scoring record of 261 in 1945, when he won by a tournament-record 14 strokes over runner-up Byron Nelson. Hogan's 261 was also the all-time PGA Tour scoring record at the time — but Nelson took it away two weeks later with a 259 in the Seattle Open. Hogan also finished runner-up in 1948, losing to Fred Haas by one stroke in an 18-hole playoff.

Winners of the Portland Open Invitational

1944 — Sam Snead, 289
1945 — Ben Hogan, 261
1946 — No tournament
1947 — Charles Congdon, 270
1948 — Fred Haas, 270 (def. Ben Hogan, Johnny Palmer in 18-hole playoff)
1949–1958 — Not played
1959 — Billy Casper, 269
1960 — Billy Casper, 266
1961 — Billy Casper, 273
1962 — Jack Nicklaus, 269
1963 — George Knudson, 272 (def. Mason Rudolph in sudden-death playoff)
1964 — Jack Nicklaus, 275
1965 — Jack Nicklaus, 273
1966 — Bert Yancey, 271

Golf courses: Portland Golf Club was the tournament's home in the 1940s and again when the event resumed in the late 1950s. The last four times it was played, the tournament took place at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon.

Also known as: The tournament was named the Portland Open its first year, then Portland Open Invitational 1945-48. In 1959 it was the Portland Centennial Open Invitational, then reverted to Portland Open Invitational its remaining years.

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