9 July 2009

    Top ten Open Championship debuts

    With the third major of the season fast approaching, people are looking to Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson to step up and claim it. But the Open has a history of throwing up unlikely winners. In this article we take a look at the men who have won it at the first attempt.

    1. Tom Watson, Carnoustie, 1975
    Watson won at the first attempt in a play-off against Jack Newton. The American would go on to win five Opens in total, eight majors overall.

    2. Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953
    Ben Hogan also won at the first attempt, in a play-off and at Carnoustie. This was the last of Hogan's nine majors.

    3. Willie Park, Prestwick, 1860
    The Scotsman has gained fame for being the first Open champion. The field at that time contained just eight golfers. Park went on to win four claret jugs in total (okay, okay, so they weren't actually jugs until a good while later.

    4. Ben Curtis, St George’s, 2003
    Curtis was an unknown before the championship and is hardly more famous now.

    5. Tony Lema, St Andrews, 1964
    Lema won this major just two years before his career was cruelly cut short by an aircraft accident. This was his first visit to St Andrews.

    6. Tom Kidd, St Andrews, 1873
    Kidd won the first Open ever to be played at what came to be known as the home of golf.

    7. Harold Hilton, Muirfield, 1892
    Amateur Hilton was the second Englishman to win the Open.

    8. Jock Hutchison, St Andrews, 1921
    A play-off victory made Hutchison the first American champion.

    9. Denny Shute, St Andrews, 1933
    Shute won three majors but this victory was his first and perhaps best.

    10. Mungo Park, Musselburgh, 1874
    Park was brother of Willie (#3) perhaps most famous for going to sea for twenty years only to return and claim the Open championship in his hometown.

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