On March 26, 1942 Ben shot a final round 69 to win the North and South Open
By: Mark Baron – Earning $1,000.00 at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina by five strokes over second place Sam Snead. Byron Nelson finished 10 strokes back in a tie for third place.
This was one of the few times the triumvirate of Hogan/Nelson/Snead finished in first, second and third place. Ben set a tournament record 17 strokes under par, 271 for the four rounds, breaking his own record of 277 he set in 1940. In the four rounds he had only four bogies and 21 birdies.
During this era every golfer wanted to win the North and South Open because it had one of the highest payoffs and was considered a major championship amongst the players. Byron Nelson was quoted “We looked at the Western Open and the North and South as majors in our day because the companies, the sponsors, offered bonuses for winning them, just like they did for the U. S. Open and the PGA”.
In the first round Ben shot a 67 for a tie for second along with Sam Snead, one stroke back of Lester Kennedy, a 24-year old rookie who tied the course record. Kennedy three putted the 16th green otherwise he would have set the course record. Nelson shot a 69 to finish in a tie for fourth.
In the second round Ben shot a 68 to end up in a tie for first along with Harper Chandler. Hogan’s second round was played with his typical consistency, from tee to green. He had one birdie on the out nine and two coming back before bogeying his first hole of the tournament, the 204-yard fifteenth by three putting. To make up for the bogey, he added two more birdies on the 16th and 18th holes, finishing 4-3-3. Snead fell back with a 71 to finish in tie for fourth. Nelson shot a 70 to finish in ninth.
The final two rounds were played on the Thursday, March 26th. Ben shot a 67 and 69 and won so convincingly that there was no drama in the last round. He had three bogeys in the final round but only four in the whole tournament to go along with 21 birdies. Chandler Harper was tied with Hogan after two rounds, shooting 69 and 66, but could do no better than pair of 75’s and wound up in seventh place. Snead shot 70 and 68 to finish in second. Nelson shot 69 and 73 to finish in a tie for third along with Lloyd Mangrum.
This was Hogan’s third tournament win that year and his ninth since he won this event in 1940. This victory gave him the lead in the tour’s money race with $7,158, more than $1,000 ahead of second place Sam Snead and 182 points in the Vardon Trophy Race.
Hogan interacted with the gallery during the final round in an unfamiliar way that people who knew him best had hardly ever seen. He laughed and tipped his cap to the gallery, autographed cards in the middle of the fairways and even frolicked with a five-year-old daughter of an acquaintance down the eighth fairway.
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