This Day in Hogan History: 1946 GOLDEN STATE OPEN VICTORY
By: Mark Baron – On September 2 1946, Ben Hogan shot a final round one-under par 70 to win the Golden State Open by one stroke over Chick Harbert at the California Country Club in Los Angeles, collecting $2,500. This victory was fresh off his second major victory, the 1946 PGA Championship (of course we count the 1942-war time US Open as his first) and his 12th victory of the year.
In the first round Ben shot a five-under par 66, which included five birdies and 13 pars, to take a one shot lead over Herman Keiser.
In the second round Ben shot a two-under par 69 to increase his lead by two strokes over Herman Barron and Jack Gage. Ben played inconsistent golf, not very Hoganesque, making seven birdies, five bogies and six pars. He started his round with a birdie on the first, sinking an eight foot putt, a par on the second and a birdie on the third with a six foot putt. He parred the next three holes, but bogied the seventh by three putting. He bounced back with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes. He bogied the tenth hole after missing the green in regulation and failed to get up and down. He birdied the next hole after hitting a tremendous tee shot, but bogied the 12th hole by three putting from 15 feet. He made three consecutive pars and then birdied the 16th with a three foot putt. He parred the 17th, but three-putted the final hole for a bogie on the last hole.
In the third round Ben shot a one-under par 70 to hold onto a slim one shot lead over Jack Gage, one of the few men on the tour smaller than Hogan.
In the fourth round, Ben shot a one-under par 70 to win the tournament by one stroke over Chick Harbert, who shot a 66 to come from seventh place to nearly steal the victory. Hogan had to birdie the 16th and 17th holes and par the 18th to secure the one stroke victory, his 12th tournament win of 1946. The victory increased Hogan’s 1946 leading money winnings to $35,877.
After the tournament he returned to the Hersey Country Club in Hershey Pennsylvania where he was the club’s head professional to “rest and forget about golf for a while”. There was a report from the Milwaukee Sentinel that Hogan paid his caddie only $85 and that he told bystanders he was “very disappointed”. Golden Golden Golden
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