This Day in Hogan History:
BEN WINS THE FIRST ORLANDO OPEN IN 1945
By: Mark Baron – On December 2, 1945, Ben Hogan shot a final round 67 to win the inaugural Orlando Open played on the Dubsdread Golf Club in Florida by beating the same person he beat in a playoff the week before, Harold “Jug” McSpaden, by six strokes for prize money of $2,000 in war bonds ($1,500 cash equivalent). This was his fifth and final victory in 1945 since his return to full time tournament play in August, entering in just sixteen events. However, it was just a warm up for 1946 when he goes on a terror and wins 13 tournaments, the money title and Vardon Trophy.
In the first round, Les Kennedy a young relatively unknown pro from Pawtucket, Rhode Island shot a 63, one stroke off the course record to take the early lead. Ben finished six strokes back with a 69.
In the second round, Herman Keiser shot a 69 for a two round total of 135, to take a two stroke lead over Sam Snead and Ky Laffoon at 137. Ben matched his first round total of 69 to finish in a tie for third at 138.
In the third round Ben shot a six-under-par 65 to take a three stroke lead over Herman Keiser and Ky Laffoon. Keiser held the lead at the beginning of the round but could do no better than an even par 71. Sam Snead shot a disappointing 74 to fall out of contention. Hogan was five under par for the round after the outward nine and added another birdie on the inward nine for a 31 – 34 round. He birdied the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eight and thirteenth holes and in typical Hogan style, parred all the other holes.
In the final round Ben shot a four-under-par 67 for a four round total of 270. Hogan provided a lot of excitement for the gallery of over 5,000 on the 471-yard par five fourth hole after reaching the green in two shots and sinking a 20 footer for eagle three. Again on the 505 par five, eighteenth hole he provided some spectacular shot-making when he hit his second shot over the green and then came back with a pitch shot to within two feet of the cup sinking the putt for a birdie four.
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