• U.S.

Sport: Canadian Open

4 minute read
TIME

The Credit River, a meandering, graceful hazard, winds through twelve of the 18 holes at Mississauga Country Club where the Canadian Open golf championship was played last week. Otherwise, it is not a difficult course, a little shorter— 6,545 yd.—than most links selected for big tournaments. The contestants were less worried by the course than by each other. It was probably the best field of crack golfers that has ever competed in the increasingly important Canadian Open —which has not been won by a Canadian since 1914.

Billy Burke and George Von Elm. tired after their play-off for the U. S. Open, were there to watch. Most closely they watched one-eyed Tommy Armour. British Open Champion, who was defending his next-best title; Walter Hagen. who recently recovered his putting touch and promised his friends to win at least one important championship this year; Percy Alliss, a plump British professional attached to a club at Wannsee, near Berlin, where Professor Albert Einstein goes sail-boating; elegantly skinny Johnny Farrell; Wiffy Cox, the only pro who played the new U. S. “big ball” (and shot a 68 with it) in the first round last week. In addition to these, there were the members of the British Ryder Cup team, who, badly beaten in their matches against the U. S., were getting back on their games; Leo Diegel, who has won the Canadian Open four times; Aubrey Boomer, British professional of the St. Cloud Club near Paris.

In the first round, Alliss shot a 67, five under par; Hagen, Cox and Armour were a stroke behind, Farrell two strokes. Hagen got another 68 the next day. Farrell was still a stroke behind him and Alliss, with a 71 for his second round, was a stroke behind Farrell. Cox, disgusted by a 39, changed to the smaller, heavier old ball, shot a 35 on the second nine. It was a cool, grey day. Henry Cotton, generally considered most formidable of the British Ryder Cup players, strapped two umbrellas to his bag in case of rain.

Next day it did rain, torrentially. Hagen plugged along for a 72, then a 74 and posted a total of 282. His heavy jowls had a satisfied droop as he waited for Farrell and Alliss, who had started half an hour behind him, to finish. Playing together over the drenched, sodden course, they were respectively three and six strokes behind Hagen’s score at the ninth hole. On the tenth, Alliss got a birdie 2, followed by four pars. On the fifteenth he got a birdie 3 and on the sixteenth dropped a 15-ft. putt for another 3. He had a par 4 on the seventeenth. On the eighteenth, he and Farrell both needed birdies to tie Hagen. It seemed to be Farrell’s turn but his putt for a 3 rimmed the cup and stayed out. Alliss looked at his ball lying 18 feet from the cup, walked up & down on the wet green for five minutes before he made up his mind to hit it. When he did, the ball plopped squarely into the hole, giving him 282 to tie Hagen.

Three days later, after the course had had a chance to dry off and the golfers a chance to rest, play was resumed. Alliss found his stride quickly, led by four strokes at the end of the fifth hole. By the fourteenth Hagen had squared the match, then took the lead at the next hole. From there on it was a seesaw: At lunch Alliss led by a stroke. One up at the long (460 yd.) sixth in the afternoon, Hagen played his second shot into the woods, skimmed his third between two lines of spectators to plump his ball a yard from the cup, made a birdie four. After holding a lead of now one and now two strokes. Hagen dropped the fifteenth and sixteenth, where Alliss sank a 30-ft. putt, and they came to the seventeenth all even. Alliss thereupon sliced his drive to take a par four while Hagen drove straight down the fairway, approached well, quickly sank his putt. The last hole was halved. Hagen’s total score: 423; Alliss’, 424.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com