1948: Henry Cotton wins his third Open Championship at Muirfield Links

Cotton
Henry Cotton at the trophy presentation ceremony

Henry Cotton wins The Open at Muirfield

On this day, In 1948 Henry Cotton won his third Open Championship, this one at Muirfield Links in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland.  At age 41, the Englishman finished at even, 284, thanks to a masterful second round of 66.  His 284 was one stroke off the record that Gene Sarazen set in 1932 at Princes.Cotton first burst onto the golf scene when he ended the American domination of The Open from 1921 – 1933.

Charlie Ward, Sam King, and Flory Van Donck shot 69 to share the first round lead. Cotton opened with a 71, then led by four strokes after a 66 in the second round,  one off his own tournament record set in 1934. While scoring conditions in the first two rounds were ideal, with five other rounds of sub-70 in the second, the change in weather on the final day caused scores to soar. The maximum number of players making the cut after 36 holes was again set at 40, and ties for 40th place were not included. The cut was at 148 (+6) and 36 players advanced.

Over the final two rounds, the lowest round was 70. Cotton carded rounds of 75-72 to set a clubhouse lead of 284 that no one came close to matching. Fred Daly, who the year before became the 1st Irishman to win The Open, came closest with a 289, five shots behind.

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