Has An Amateur Golfer Ever Won the British Open?

Yes, there are multiple amateur golfers who won the British Open — but not many, and not for a long time. A total of six Opens have been won by amateurs, but only three golfers account for those six victories. And that last win by amateur in the Open Championship was in 1930.

The three amateurs who've won The Open are John Ball, Harold Hilton and Bobby Jones. Three of those wins happened pre-1900. This is the list:

Amateur Winners of the Open Championship

  • John Ball, won 1890 Open at Prestwick
  • Harold Hilton, won 1892 Open at Muirfield
  • Harold Hilton, won 1897 Open at Royal Liverpool
  • Bobby Jones, won 1926 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes
  • Bobby Jones, won 1927 Open on The Old Course at St. Andrews
  • Bobby Jones, won 1930 Open at Royal Liverpool
John Ball won a record eight British Amateur Championships, first in 1888 and last in 1912. He won The Amateur in 1890, too, the year of his Open victory — he was the first golfer to win both, and did it in the same year. (The list of golfers who won both The Amateur and The Open is the same as the list of amateur golfers who've won The Open: Ball, Hilton, Jones.)

When Harold Hilton won his first British Open title in 1892, Ball was the runner-up. Both of Hilton's wins in The Open preceded the first of his four British Amateur Championship titles, which happened in the span from 1900 to 1913. Hilton also won the 1911 U.S. Amateur.

Jones, like Hilton, won the British Open before he won the British Amateur. Unlike Ball and Hilton, Jones had more wins in The Open (three) than in the Amateur (one). His only British Amateur Championship victory was in 1930, same year he won the last of his Open titles. Jones also won the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur in 1930 — the "impregnable quadrilateral," the Grand Slam.

Have Any Amateurs Come Close Since 1930?

Only one amateur since 1930 has finished as high as second place. Frank Stranahan, "the Toledo Strongman," was runner-up in two Open Championships. He tied for second, one stroke behind winner Fred Daly, in the 1947 British Open. And Stranahan tied for second, four strokes behind winner Ben Hogan, in the 1953 British Open. See Amateur Winners in Majors and Best Finishes Since for a few more Top 5 finishes by amateurs since 1930. You can also check the list of low amateurs in the Open Championship to see the highest-finishing amateur golfer in every Open played.

Related articles:

Popular posts from this blog

Ryder Cup Captains: The Full List