The greatest amateur that ever played the game won his first major championship on this day, 96 years ago…
Bobby Jones of Atlanta, Georgia won the 27th United States Open Championship by defeating Bobby Cruickshank by two strokes in a 18-hole Sunday playoff. In 1923, the U.S. Open was played at Inwood Country Club in Inwood, New York, a suburb east of New York City.
Jock Hutchison had the early lead during the first two rounds carding 70-72 and sitting at -2. Behind him after 36 holes was Jones at even par and Cruickshank at +1. Hutchison spent his lead during the third round finishing with a disastrous round of 82, ten over par. This is when the young amateur took the lead shooting a 76 in the third round, three clear of Cruickshank.
In the final round, Jones made things interesting by carding another 76 while Cruickshank shot a 73. He bogeyed the first, hit his tee shot out of bounds at the par-3 seventh for a double bogey, hit his second shot on 16 into the parking lot, and then added another bogey at 17. Still with the lead heading to the 18th, Jones made a double-bogey for a 296 (+8) total. Cruickshank, playing behind Jones, made double bogey at 16 and had to birdie the last to tie Jones; he hit his approach shot to five feet (1.5 m) and made the putt.
Cruickshank and Jones were tied at the 18th hole in the playoff. The tie breaker was when Jones hit the ball 200 yards, clearing a pond, and stopping a mere eight feet from the hole. Cruickshank, on the other hand, was stuck trying to maneuver his way around on the fairway. Jones putted twice, and won the tournament.
Jones had never won a U.S. amateur championship before he had won the U.S. Open. He was, at the time, the only golfer to ever be the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open champion, winning both tournaments in the same year.
- This was the first of Jones’ four U.S. Open titles, a record shared with three others: Willie Anderson, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus. It was also the first of four playoffs Jones was involved in, winning twice.
- Throughout his career, Jones played in 31 majors, winning 13 and placing among the top ten finishers 27 times.