The first Irish win in the British Open Golf Championship took place seventy years ago this month, writes Noel Coogan

The British Open Golf Championship is one of the sporting highlights of July and seventy years ago this month there was a first Irish triumph in the famous event, with Fred Daly from Co. Antrim taking the coveted title.

The history of the prestigious tournament dates back to October, 1860, when Willie Park Senior was the first winner at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.

Just eight players participated in the inaugural test over three rounds of 12 holes with the victor having two strokes to spare over the legendary Old Tom Morris.
Since those distant days many great golfers have tasted glory in The Open and it took 76 renewals of the championship before the coveted Claret Jug was won by a player from the island of Ireland.

The Royal Liverpool Club was the venue in 1947, and Fred Daly’s achievement paved the way for a number of triumphs by other Irish golfers in major tournaments. The man from Portrush became the first of three players from the Emerald Isle to land the British Open.

Born on October 11th, 1911, Daly was 35 years old when achieving the most notable success of his career.

A plus five total of 293 – 73, 70, 78 and 72 – was sufficient to land the title, one stroke ahead of joint runners-up Reg Horne and United States amateur Frank Stranahan.
These years, players from many countries around the world take part in The Open, but seventy years ago the visiting contingent consisted of just three competitors from America. The Ulster player went on to finish finished second in the 1948 Open to Henry Cotton, tied for third place in 1950, was fourth in ‘51 and third again in ‘52.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own (issue 5612)