Jack Burns the unexpected champion
Jack Burns of St. Andrews won the 1888 Open Championship on this date 128 years ago. Burns himself was a St. Andrews native and head professional at Warwick. It’s funny, Burns could hardly be regarded as a regular professional before & until he won the championship. With his victory he won £8 pounds which was worth atlas two months worth of wages. He won it by a stroke from David Anderson, Jr. and Ben Sayers to finish a two day total of 171. Anderson Jr. and Sayers played an 18-hole play-off two days later. Sayers won and took the second prize of £6 pounds, Anderson taking the third prize of £3 pounds. 1886 Champion Willie Anderson came in at fourth with 174 taking home £2 pounds.
The Final Day of the 1886 Championship
In the afternoon Sayers, in the first group, scored 87 and took an early lead on 172. Campbell made a number of mistakes and scored 90 for a total of 174. Sayers was then joined on 172 by David Anderson. Playing a few groups behind, Burns scored an 85 and took the lead on 171, a score none of the later players could match. Burns’s score for his first round had originally been added up to 87 but an R&A member noticed that it was added up incorrectly and the total was adjusted to 86, making Burns the champion.
Fact: Most noteworthy, Burns was a pallbearer for the legendary Old Tom Morris when he passed away at age 87 in 1908.
Burns played in the championship at Royal St George’s, Sandwich. How his game had faded, for he finished 49 shots off the lead. His only claim to fame that year was being drawn with the fast rising James Braid on the rst day. Braid scored 91 and 84 and Burns 93 and 97. In Conclusion, Burns returned to St. Andrews in 1898 to work on a railway.