The 3rd Open | 1862 Prestwick

A record that has stood for 160 years

As the old saying goes, records are there to be broken, yet some stand the test of time.

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That is certainly true of the feat achieved at The Open in 1862 by Old Tom Morris, who retained the title of Champion Golfer of the Year he had claimed 12 months earlier.

Not only did Morris Snr become the first man to win The Open in back-to-back years, he immortalised himself in the history of golf's original major by romping to a 13-stroke success.

It remains the largest winning margin ever recorded in The Open and only Tiger Woods' 15-stroke victory in the 2000 U.S. Open has surpassed it in the other Majors.

Fittingly, the only player to have come close to breaking The Open's record was Tom's own son Young Tom Morris, who won the 1869 and 1870 Championships by 11 and 12 strokes respectively.

Just the third-ever staging of The Open, the 1862 edition was once again contested at Prestwick in one of many similarities to the two that had gone before.

As in previous years, it was played over three rounds of the 12-hole links course and there was no prize money, with the winner simply receiving the Challenge Belt for the next year.

The leading players were also the same as the two previous victors Morris and Willie Park Snr - the very first Champion Golfer in 1860 - went head-to-head for the top prize.

But this time the result was much more emphatic as Morris raced into an early lead that he never looked like relinquishing, securing a wire-to-wire triumph at the South Ayrshire venue.

Setting the tone

In fine September weather conditions, Morris kicked off his title challenge with his best Open round to date.

By taking just 52 strokes around his home course - Morris was the greenkeeper at Prestwick - he opened up a seven-stroke advantage over Park, who was the best of the rest with his round of 59.

Morris continued to set the pace in the second round as well, finishing with 55 to extend his advantage over Park (59) and William Dow (58) to 11 strokes with 12 holes to play.

And he wrapped up his record-setting 13-stroke winning margin of victory with a final round of 56 for a total of 163 - matching the same tally he won the 1861 title with a year earlier.

Park concluded with 58 for his best round of the day but his total of 176 was only good enough for second place as his great rival got the better of him for the second consecutive year.

Charlie Hunter also finished with 58 to snatch third place ahead of Dow, who saved his worst until last in posting 63 for a total of 181, three shots behind Hunter.

The leading amateur was James Knight but his total of 186 trailed the Champion Golfer of the Year by 23 strokes, with fellow amateur J.F. Johnston, an Englishman behind five Scots, even further back in sixth (208).

Such was the dominance of Morris in 1862, Park challenged him to an eight-round head-to-head encounter later that same year, only for the Open Champion to prevail once more.

Morris won by two holes over two rounds at Musselburgh, by five at Prestwick, by four at North Berwick and by six at St Andrews for a comprehensive 17-hole victory overall.

Even so, 1862 will forever be remembered for Morris' Open masterclass.