Golf

U.S. Open countdown: 19-year-old wins All-American playoff in 1911

17th U.S. Open | June 23-25, 1911

Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, Ill.

Leaderboard

x-John McDermott, United States 81 - 72 - 75 - 79 307
Mike Brady, United States 76 - 77 - 79 - 75 307
George Simpson, United States 76 - 77 - 79 - 75 307
Fred McLeod, Scotland 77 - 72 - 76 - 83 308
Jock Hutchinson, Scotland 80 - 77 - 73 - 79 309
Gilbert Nicholls, England 76 - 78 - 74 - 81 309
x-won playoff

This was a significant moment in American golf history. Not only did John McDermott, a Philadelphia native, become the first golfer from the United States to win his own national championship — and also the youngest (19 years old) — but the showings of Mike Brady and George Simpson also started to give Americans some clout at major championships.

Fred McLeod, the U.S. Open winner in 1909, held the lead after three rounds. But on a rainy final day, his 83 opened the door for the trio of Americans. McDermott had to birdie the finishing hole of regulation just to get into the playoff. In the playoff, Brady staged a back-nine rally to catch McDermott, only to lose the lead for good by missing a 4-foot putt for par at the 15th hole. McDermott won the playoff with an 80, followed by Brady’s 82, and Simpson’s 85.

This was the start of a short but dominant run by McDermott, who defended his U.S. Open title a year later in Buffalo. As for Brady, he again finished second in 1919 to Walter Hagen but won nine PGA Tour tournaments in just over a decade (1916-26). Simpson played in four more U.S. Opens but never finished higher than tied for 13th. He died suddenly of influenza in 1920.

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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