Byron Nelson took the Phoenix Open with a total of 274
Byron Nelson stood off late round rallies by Denny Shute and Samy Byrd to win the $6,666 War Bond Phoenix Open, on this day 73 years ago. Nelson’s total aggregate score of 274, ten strokes under par at the Phoenix Country Club course. Shute, the PGA Champion in 1936 & 1937 was hot on Nelson’s trail turning in a pair of 68’s on the final day. Byrd, a former major league baseball outfielder, bid strongly for the lead with his last round of 68. He eventually fell to third place at 277.
No Cash…Just War Bonds
The victory was worth $1,333 in war bonds to Nelson. Shute collected $933 and Byrd $746.66, also in war bonds. The current PGA Champion Bob Hamilton came in fourth place despite during in a final round of 65.
Nelson’s road to victory
Nelson skidded to a one over par 72 in the third round but held a three stroke margin at the start of the last 18. His last-round of 69 was played under severe pressure from Byrd who was in Nelson’s threesome. Going into the last nine, Nelson held only a one-stroke margin over Byrd. He then drew away to a two-stroke lead on the fourteenth hole, where he ran down a 30 foot putt.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.