1/25/1949: Ben Hogan defeated Jimmy Demaret in an 18-hole playoff to win the Long Beach Open


This Day in Hogan History:

On January 25, 1949 Ben Hogan defeated Jimmy Demaret in an 18-hole playoff to win the Long Beach Open at the Lakewood Country Club earning $2,000.

In the first round Ben shot a three-under-par 68 to finish in a six way tie for second along with Smiley Quick, Willie Hunter, E. J. “Dutch” Harrison and John Perelli, one stroke behind the leaders Jim Ferrier, Jimmy Demaret, Skip Alexander and Chick Harbert. Ben was the only person in the field to reach the par five 18th hole in two strokes.

In the second round Ben shot five-under-par 66 in a driving rainstorm to take the lead. His only bogey came on the 17th hole where his five iron shot was left of the green. He chipped up to within eight feet of the pin but missed the putt. He birdied the third and sixth to make the turn with a two-under 33 and birdied the 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th for a three-under-par 33 on the inward nine. Tied for second, one stroke back was Jimmy Demaret and Jack Burke.

In the third round Ben shot one-under-par 70 to fall back in second, one stroke behind Jack Burke who shot a 66. On the outward nine Hogan missed three greens for bogies and birdied two holes for a one-over-par 36. He shot a two-under-par 34 in the inward nine.

In the fourth round Jimmy Demaret finished before Ben, shooting a 66, by virtue of a sizzling inward nine score of 31. At that time Ben just finished playing the 16th hole at two under par. He was told that he needed to birdie one of the final two holes to finish in a tie. He parred the 17th. His drive on the 18th was straight and long down the middle of the fairway. His second shot was to the left of the green and a third shot fell 15 feet short of the cup. He sank the tricky and downhill putt for a birdie and a tie. The gallery of over 5,000 gave Ben a tremendous round of applause.

Ben shot a four under par 67 in the Tuesday playoff compared to Demaret’s 69. This was the second win in a row for Hogan. Hogan trailed Demaret for only one hole during the playoff. Both took pars on the first hole, but Demaret took the lead on the second with a par four as Hogan’s putter failed him and he took a bogey. But Hogan evened the score on the next hole with a birdie to Demaret’s par. The next four holes were matched stroke to stroke. Hogan took the lead for the first time on the eighth hole when Demaret missed a short two-foot putt to card a bogey five to Hogan’s par. Demaret tied the match on the short par three 12th hole with a tee shot to within five feet. Ben birdied the next two holes including a long 20 foot birdie putt on the 13th. From there they matched scores giving the victory to Hogan. Ben tried a “new” putting style where he favored his left side with the ball off the point of his left shoe. He held the club relatively high on the stick and hit the ball squarely instead of slightly under the ball. Demaret described the putting style: “The only thing different about Hogan’s putting is that he’s getting humpbacked picking up those 10-foot putts out to the can.”

Pictured is Ben Hogan, left, who beat his pal Jimmy Demaret by two strokes in a playoff to win the Long Beach Open on Jan. 25, 1949. They are laughing as Demaret remarks that when the photographers make a mistake they can shoot the picture over but “we don’t get a second shot.” Hogan holds check for $2,000 he won, while Demaret holds his for $1,400. In addition to these checks the Lakewood Country Club Officials agreed that the pair would divide half of the gate receipts. A crowd of approximately 2,500 showed up and at $2.00 per head giving them each about an additional $2,500.00

Mark Baron

Mark Baron is a Ben Hogan expert who posts daily about the legend. Check out Mark's huge following on the Ben Hogan Facebook Page and stay tuned for special Hogan anniversaries for Mark's insight. Check out the page here: www.facebook.com/benhogangolf

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