Hershey Open Golf Tournament (PGA Tour)

The Hershey Open was a pro golf tournaments in the 1930 and early 1940s that was part of the PGA circuit of the time and is today recognized as a PGA Tour event. It is most-famous as the site of Ben Hogan's first PGA Tour victory.

First played: 1933

Last played: 1941

Henry Picard was the pro at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pennsylvania, when he won the 1936 and 1937 Hershey Opens on his home course. In 1938, the tournament, for one year only, switched from 72 holes of stroke play to a 2-man team, round-robin, match-play format. And for that one year, it was named the Hershey Four-Ball.

Picard was a benefactor to Ben Hogan, who was winless through the end of 1937 and struggling to stay on tour. Through Picard's influence, Hogan got into the field of the 1938 Hershey Four-Ball. He was assigned Tommy Armour as his partner, but Armour to withdraw. So Vic Ghezzi, already a 7-time PGA Tour winner, became Hogan's partner.

And Hogan and Ghezzi went on to win the tournament. It was the very first of Hogan's 64 career wins on the PGA Tour.

Soon Picard decided to leave his pro job at Hershey CC. He recommended Hogan as his replacement, and the club hired Hogan. So when Hogan won the 1941 Hershey Open (the last time the tournament was played), he, like Picard, was winning this tournament on his home course. Hogan's 275 in 1941 was the lowest winning score in the Hershey Open.

The tournament wasn't played in 1940 because the host club instead was the site of a major championship. That 1940 PGA Championship was won by Byron Nelson, who beat Sam Snead, 1-up, in the championship match.

Winners of the Hershey Open

1933 — Ed Dudley, 288
1934 — Ky Laffoon, 286
1935 — Ted Luther, 290 (def. Felix Serafin in playoff)
1936 — Henry Picard, 287
1937 — Henry Picard, 280
1938 — Vic Ghezzi/Ben Hogan (team fourball format)
1939 — Felix Serafin, 284
1940 — No tournament
1941 — Ben Hogan, 275

Golf course: Hershey (Pa.) Country Club was the site of the tournament each year it was played. The club was founded by Milton Hershey, namesake of Hershey chocolate. The club later played host to a long-running LPGA Tour tournament named the Lady Keystone Open.

Popular posts from this blog