This Day in Hogan history:
On February 10, 1946 Ben Hogan shot rounds of 67 and 65 to win the San Antonio Open at the Brackenridge Park Golf Course, earning $1,500.00. Ben’s four day aggregate score of 20 under par 264 broke the tournament record by four strokes. His final round 65 was two off the course record of 63. Byron Nelson who started the day tied for the lead with Hogan shot rounds of 72 and 69 to finish in third nine strokes back. Hogan lost in playoffs twice previously at this tournament, in 1940 to Byron Nelson and in 1942 to Chick Harbert.
In the first round Ben shot a 67 to finish in tie for second along with Lawson Little, Jimmy Demaret and amateur Frank Stranahan, three strokes behind the leaders Byron Nelson and Art Doering.
In the second round Ben shot a six-under-par 65 for 36 hole total of 132 to finish in a tie with Byron Nelson who shot a 68. Hogan’s had two eagles (on the par 5 third hole by chipping in from a sand trap and on the par five 13th hole landing on the heavily protected green in two and sinking the putt) three birdies (one of which on the 18th hole), two bogies and the rest pars.
Entering the final two rounds Hogan was tied for the lead with Nelson. Ben hit 35 of the 36 greens in regulation shooting a 67 and 65. Nelson had putter problems and shot a third round score of 72 and a 69 in the final round to finish in third place, nine strokes back. The largest crowd in the 19-year history of the tournament crowded the final green to cheer Hogan. He quietly accepted the winner’s check claiming it was the best he ever played at this tournament. With this win Hogan led the tour in money earnings with $6,150 with Nelson in second with $4,248. Both Hogan and Nelson had won two events but Nelson played in three less tournaments.
Nelson was heavily favored to win this tournament as the year before in 1945 he completed a record-breaking season, winning 18 of 35 PGA tournaments including 11 in a row, two records still yet to be beaten and Hogan had just returned to full time golf from 3 years of service in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Nelson was quoted before the tournament that: “I’m terribly off my game. I felt the need for several hours’ practice, because I can’t seem to do anything right.” But he grinned broadly after his first round 64: “I wouldn’t want to take any of those shots over – you don’t want to take ‘em over when you shoot a 64.”
Texans won 5 of the 6 golf tournaments in Texas that year with Hogan winning three and Nelson two:
- Nelson at the Glen Garden Invitational
- Hogan at San Antonio
- Nelson at Houston Open
- Hogan at Colonial Invitational
- Hogan at Dallas Invitational
- Frank Stranahan at the Fort Worth Invitational
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