U.S. Open countdown: England’s Sargent sets scoring record, firing a 290 in 1909

15th U.S. Open | June 24-25, 1909

Englewood Golf Club, Englewood, N.J.


George Sargent, England 75 - 72 - 72 - 71 290
Tom McNamara, United States 73 - 69 - 75 - 77 294
Alex Smith, Scotland 76 - 73 - 74 - 72 295
Willie Anderson, Scotland 79 - 74 - 76 - 70 299
Jack Hobens, Scotland 75 - 78 - 72 - 74 299
Isaac Mackie, Scotland 77 - 75 - 74 - 73 299

As a boy, George Sargent imitated his golf heroes by taking a stick and whacking around a pebble in the alleys of Epsom, England. Twenty years later, he was a U.S. Open record-holder, setting the 72-hole scoring mark (290) at Englewood Golf Club.

It wasn’t until Sargent began as a caddie at Epsom Downs Golf Club when he got noticed by the country’s biggest hero — Harry Vardon. In fact, it was Vardon who took the teenager under his tutelage at the Ganton Golf Club in Yorkshire in 1899. Eventually, Sargent moved to Canada to become the teaching professional at Royal Ottawa Golf Club — then on to a course he helped design at Hyde Manor in Vermont.

He played in 15 U.S. Opens, but none were as memorable as those two June days in 1909. David Hunter made tournament history in the first round by becoming the first golfer to post a sub-70 round (68). Tom McNamara matched that feat in the second round with a 69. But Sargent was steady with three rounds of par or better, and won by four strokes.

This was also the last cut made by inaugural U.S. Open winner Horace Rawlins, who placed 60th.

After his U.S. Open win, Sargent later became the president of the PGA of America.