US Open countdown: Jones wins playoff to grab 1929 title

33rd U.S. Open | June 27-30, 1929

Winged Foot Golf Club West Course, Mamaroneck, N.Y.


x-Bobby Jones, United States (a) 69 - 75 - 71 - 79 294
Al Espinosa, United States 70 - 72 - 77 - 75 294
Gene Sarazen, United States 71 - 71 - 76 - 78 296
Denny Shute, United States 73 - 71 - 76 - 76 296
Tommy Armour, Scotland 74 - 71 - 76 - 76 297
George Von Elm, United States (a) 79 - 70 - 74 - 74 297
x-won in playoff; a-amateur

For a third consecutive year, the national open went to extra holes. This time, however, Jones won by a landslide — 23 strokes — over Espinosa, a professional from California who won 19 times, including twice in the Washington Open Invitational (1922-23).

The convincing win was just another fine chapter in the extraordinary career of Jones, the amateur from Georgia who took home his ninth major title (amateur and professional), tying British amateur John Ball for most of all-time.

And through this championship, Jones had played 65 medal-play rounds – and never shot a score in the 80s, which was certainly a rare feat back in those days.

Yet, Jones certainly showed his fragile side — again — in the final round. Seemingly in control with a four-shot lead, Jones made a pair of triple bogeys, including one at the 15th hole. He three-putt the 16th green for another bogey — and eventually had to sink a 12-foot par putt on the finishing hole just to tie Espinosa.

In the 36-hole playoff, Jones trailed by two strokes after an opening double bogey. It was the only time he was stressed out all day as Espinosa completely fell apart. He was beset by poor tee shots — he hooked drive after drive into the trees and deep rough — and betrayed by putting feel, often running lag putts well past the hole.

Had the two golfers been playing match play instead of medal play, the day would have ended on the seventh green in the afternoon 18 holes. Instead, Espinosa had to suffer the complete two loops.

Jones was brilliant, shooting rounds of 69 and 72 in the playoff for a 141 total, to Espinosa’s 164 (84-80). In fact, Jones tallied a pair of 69s for the tournament on this difficult but fair layout.