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British Open always a treat

Golf commentary

It’s hard to believe that this week’s British Open is the last major championship of the year.

I enjoy following all the majors, but there are so many reasons I love watching this tournament in particular …from the tall fescue rough, to the deep pot bunkers, no other event has scenery like this one. When you add in the possibility of bad weather, which the tournament is famous for, it’s so much fun to just sit back and enjoy the action.

Golf in the British Isles is so different than the sport we play here in the United States, and it’s fun getting to see the best players in the world experience it. The British Open is golf’s oldest tournament, and the event has a tremendous history. Here are a few fun facts:

The first British Open was actually held before the beginning of the American Civil War. Scotland’s Willie Park Sr. won the first event, held in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club. His 36-hole total of 174 earned Park a two-shot victory over Old Tom Morris.

In 1870, young Tom Morris won his third consecutive British Open allowing him to take permanent possession of the tournament’s prize, a silver-buckled challenge belt. Amazingly, no tournament was held in 1871 due to the lack of a tournament prize. In 1872, a “Claret Jug” was procured and the tournament resumed. This silver trophy remains the perpetual championship prize awarded today.

In the 1888 British Open, Scotland’s Jack Burns scored a one-shot victory over fellow countrymen David Anderson and Ben Sayers at historic St. Andrews. For all his hard work, Burns took home not only the championship trophy but also the amazing first-place prize money of $8.

Finally, of all Jack Nicklaus’ tremendous accomplishments, his impressive run of top finishes at the British Open may rank among his very best. Over an amazing 15-year stretch from 1966 through 1980, Nicklaus finished in no worse than sixth place. He eventually ended his career with a total of three British Open victories (1966, 1970 and 1978).

Pa. Father-Son

Two local teams scored top finishes at the Pennsylvania Father-Son Championship held earlier this week at the Bedford Springs Resort.

Iron Masters’ Ron and Spencer Hinish shot rounds of 72 and 71 to finish the tournament in sixth place, seven shots behind champions Grayson and James Wingert of Llanarch Country Club.

In eighth-place was the Park Hills team of Artie and Derek Fink, who finished with scores of 73-71.

Park Hills Classic

The 54th annual Park Hills Classic is under way this week at the historic Altoona golf links.

The team of Anthony DeGol and William Smith captured last year’s championship trophy, while this year’s winning team is expected to be crowned at the conclusion of Sunday’s afternoon play. The public is welcome to come out and watch the action.

Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can be reached at gltr777@atlanticbb.net.

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