Willie Fernie was on a verge of a breakdown but persevered to win The Open
The 1883 Open Championship was the 23rd Open Championship, held 16 November at the Musselburgh Links, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. After the Morris duo dominated The Open Championship in the first decade it went through a time of adjustment. In the years prior to the 1883 Open Championship the even was dominated by Jamie Anderson of St. Andrews and Bob Ferguson of Musselburgh. Both men had won the tournament three times to their name both doing it consecutively. Anderson had won it in the years 1877, 1878, 1879 while Ferguson wins came in the years 1880, 1881, 1882. Leaving the stage set for 1883, Ferguson was the clear early favorite just by his recent resume.
Willie Fernie and Bob Ferguson go head-to-head at Musselburgh
Fernie and Bob Ferguson were tied on 158 each. They had a 36-hole playoff on 17 November, Fernie winning by a single stroke from Ferguson. The weather was dull with light winds. Play did not begin until about 11:30 and with an early sunset the final groups plaed their last few holes in near darkness. Fernie led at lunch with rounds of 38 and 37. His total of 75 was two ahead of Willie Park, Jr. and three ahead of Ferguson, the defending champion who had had rounds of 38 and 40.
Fernie continued playing well although he took eight at the 3rd hole of his third round. Disaster came at the 2nd hole of the final round where he took 10. Despite this he had rounds of 40 and 43 and a total of 158. Park dropped out of contention in the afternoon and finished on 165. Interest now switched to Ferguson who was playing in the second to last group. His third round 42 seemed to put him out of the running but, playing in near darkness, he had a good last round of 38 to finish on 158 and tie with Fernie.
The Playoff at Musselburgh Golf Links
The playoff on the following day was close throughout. Light rain fell during the first and last rounds but, despite this, there was a large crowd to watch the play. Yet, Fernie ended the 23rd Open Championship with a statement by hitting his final tee shot to 4 yards of the hole. Ferguson was in disbelief along with the roaring crowd. Fernie go in in two while Ferguson only managed a four making his opponent the Open Champion.
[tweetthis]While scoring a 10 on the 2nd hole in the final round Willie Fernie was still able to win the 1883 Open Championship[/tweetthis]