Golf

US Open countdown: Jones captures record fourth Open title

34th U.S. Open | July 10-12, 1930

Interlachen Country Club, Edina, Minn.

Leaderboard

Bobby Jones, United States (a) 71 - 73 - 68 - 75 287
MacDonald Smith, Scotland 70 - 75 - 74 - 70 289
Horton Smith, United States 72 - 70 - 76 - 74 292
Harry Cooper, England 72 - 72 - 73 - 76 293
Johnny Golden, United States 74 - 73 - 71 - 76 294
a-amateur

Starting in 1923, an amateur from Georgia began winning at least one major title for eight consecutive years.

Jones was great in the first seven years of that streak, compiling three wins at the U.S. Open, two victories at the British Open and four wins at the U.S. Amateur.

But in 1930 — the final year of the run — he was unparalleled, capturing all four major titles in the same calendar year for the historic “Grand Slam” of golf.

That summer, he came to Interlachen in the suburb southwest of Minneapolis having accomplished something he had never done — win the British Amateur. He also won the British Open.

Needless to say, in defense of his U.S. Open title, he was the clear favorite. There were early signs, too, that it very well could be his week to capture a fourth career U.S. Open, matching Willie Anderson’s record-setting career total from 1901-05.

At the ninth hole of his second round, Jones pushed his tee shot near the bank of a lake, but far enough down there he decided to go for the green on his second shot at the par 5.

In the middle of his backswing, two girls ran out of the gallery and into the fairway, momentarily distracting Jones.

Jones topped his second shot toward the lake. For some reason, instead of dropping to the bottom of a watery grave, his golf ball skipped across it, and came out 30 yards in front of the green.

It led to a birdie — and was later dubbed “the lily pad shot.”

Jones shot a 68 in the third round to grab a five-stroke lead. But after losing his tee ball at the 17th hole in the final round, leading to a double bogey, it was reduced to one shot over Smith heading to the final tee.

But in front of a gallery estimated at 10,000 surrounding the 18th-hole green, Jones drilled a 40-foot putt for birdie to win by two shots. It was his 12th major title victory, moving past Walter Hagen’s 11 for the all-time lead.

“Well, I’m pretty happy,” Jones said.

A parade was held for him in Atlanta that following week. A month later, Jones went to Merion Golf Club East Course just outside Philadelphia to win the U.S. Amateur to complete the “Grand Slam.”

After that final victory, Jones retired from competitive golf at age 28.

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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