1946: Ben Hogan won the Canadian Open with a come-from-behind victory




By: Mark Baron – On August 10, 1946, Ben Hogan shot a final round 68 at the Winnipeg Canadian Professional Golf Open, held at the Niakwa Country Club in Winnipeg Canada for a come-from-behind victory.  For his efforts, he earned $2,000.00 ($3,500 in Canadian money).

In the first round Ellsworth Vines tied the course record 65 to open up a four stroke lead over Jimmy Thomson, George Fazio and Fred Wood.  Ben shot a one over par 73 even though he had five birdies.

In the second round Vines held on to his lead by one stroke by shooting a one under par 71.  Stan Leonard, a Canadian and a home town favorite, shot a five under par 67 to end up in second place.  Ben shot a one under par 71 to find himself six strokes back.

Brochure from the 1946 Canadian Open

In the third round Sam Snead took the lead by shooting a 68.  Vines shot a 74 and Leonard shot an 82 to fall out of contention.  Hogan had a three under par 69 to end up two strokes behind Sam.  Snead’s 68 included a hole-in-one on the long 245 yard par three 15th hole, in all of the club’s history there have been fewer than a dozen aces at the 15th hole.

At the start of the round Ben was trailing the third round leader Sam Snead by two strokes, but Hogan’s 68 was good enough for a one shot margin of victory over Dick Metz and two shots over Snead who shot an even par 72.  Going into the 72nd hole, Hogan and Metz were tied for the lead, but Metz’s second shot to the green landed in a gully while Ben stuck his approach dead to the pin.

Hogan’s scores were progressively lower each round, 73, 71, 69 and 68.

This was Ben’s ninth victory of 1946 and the $2,000 paycheck he received brought his tour leading earnings to $29,500 for the year.

Hogan was quoted after the round during his thank – you speech that he had enjoyed every minute of his stay, that Winnipeg was a wonderful place, the people so friendly and hospitable, “not like Eastern Canada.” This got a big laugh, from the crowd, and an agitated official had to grab Ben’s elbow and remind him that his remarks were being carried over the radio. “I guess I’d better amplify that statement.  Eastern Canada just fine, but this middle western country is even finer.”  Ben was irked by the Canadian Custom Agents at the International Border when he was entering the country as they forced him to pay $23.00 in custom duties for five dozen of the seven dozen golf balls he carried which was deemed to be excessive.  Prior to the tournament Ben spent a couple of days fishing at Minaki Ontario, his first vacation since 1941.

Mark Baron

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

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1 Comment

  1. What do you think the link might between Hogan and Leonard as to swing technique? They are uniquely similar. Did their paths cross prior to the ‘46 Canadian Open?

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