This Day in Hogan History: The Motor City Open
By: Mark Baron – On July 5, 1948, Ben Hogan won the Motor City Open at the Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville Michigan, earning $2,600.00, by beating E. J. “Dutch” Harrison in a playoff by a score of 73 to Harrison’s 74.
In the first round Ben shot a one under par 70 that included an eagle on the 18th hole by holing out his second shot from 75-yard on the 330-yard par four hole. Joe Kirkwood, amateur Gene Dahlbender, Mary Fugol and Johnny Palmer opened up with 68’s to take the first round lead followed by Gene Sarazen and home pro Melvin Chick Harber followed just a stroke back.
The second round was played in rain squalls, but did not slow down E. J. “Dutch” Harrison who shot a four under par 67 to take sole possession of the lead with a two round total of 137. In second place at 138 were Jim Turnesa, Bobby Locke, Melvin Chick Harber and Johnny Palmer. Ben shot a two over par 73 to fall six strokes back of the leaders. Ben’s score could have been worse, but he finished with a birdie on 17 and just as he did the day before, holed out a 75-yard chip on 18 for an eagle.
The weather was just the opposite in the third round, sunny skies with temperatures in the 90’s. Bobby Locke shot a one-under par 70 to tie Dutch Harrison at 208. Ben shot a five under par 66 that included six birdies to make up five of the six shots he was behind at the beginning of the round. Skip Alexander was tied with Ben at 207. Jimmy Demaret dropped out of the tournament halfway through the third round claiming heat exhaustion. motor
In the fourth round Ben shot a 66 to end up in a tie for first place with Dutch Harrison who shot a 67. Ben birdied the 507-yard 17th hole, missing an eagle putt by inches from 35 feet. The tournament would normally have ended on July 4th, playoffs in those days were decided with a full round of 18 holes.
In the 18-hole playoffs Ben shot a two over par 73, good enough for a one stroke victory over E. J. “Dutch” Harrison. Hogan never trailed in the match after taking a two stroke lead on the first hole. Harrison tried to come back after being three strokes behind to even the match on the 16th hole, after Ben three putted. It was on the par five 17th hole the Hogan, the current US Open and PGA Champion fired the shot of the day. His drive hit a tree and bounced back 25 yards. He blasted a 4-wood shot out of the heavy rough 250 yards onto the green. Harrison was 75 yards in front of Hogan on his drive, but pushed his iron shot to the right and over the green. Harrison took a par on the hole, while Ben made his birdie for the decisive one stroke margin as both parred the last hole. After the playoff, Hogan announced that he would miss the next two events in Columbus Ohio and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to take part in exhibition matches.
First place was worth $2,600 to Hogan, boosting his Tour leading season’s earning to $20,197.50
It was announced during this tournament that Ted William led the All-Star voting with 1,556,784 followed by Stan Musial with 1,532,502 votes.
Mark Baron is a Ben Hogan expert who posts daily about the legend. Check out Mark's huge following on the Ben Hogan Facebook Page and stay tuned for special Hogan anniversaries for Mark's insight. Check out the page here: www.facebook.com/benhogangolf