Middlecoff became the third amateur in history to win a PGA Tour event
Its often said that Cary Middlecoff took the road less traveled to the pro ranks when it comes to the PGA Tour. In 1943, he started out as a dentist after graduating from University of Mississippi in 1944. He burst onto the scene when he won the 1945 North-South Open and became a full time pro. The win marked the first time an amateur won the event in its 44 year history. He won the North-South by beating Denny Shute by five strokes. Middlecoff won it with a finish that the press called a “Byron Nelson” type finish. Needing only to par the last three holes he amazed spectators by a par, birdie, and eagle. For the win, Cary received a $100 war bond and medal with the top prize of $1000 going to the runner up, Denny Shute.
Amateurs to win on the PGA Tour
- Frank Stranahan, 1945 Durham War Bond Tournament
- Fred Haas, 1945 Memphis Invitational
- Cary Middlecoff, 1945 North and South Open
- Frank Stranahan, 1948 Miami Open
- Gene Littler, 1954 San Diego Open
- Doug Sanders, 1956 Canadian Open
- Scott Verplank, 1985 Western Open
- Phil Mickelson, 1991 Northern Telecom Open
The most recent big win of any amateur is Shane Lowry when he won the 2009 3 Irish Open.
Fact: Middlecoff received a $100 war bond and medal with the top prize of $1000 going to the runner up, Denny Shute
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.