The 28th Open | 1888 St Andrews

Burns crowned Champion following scrutiny of scores

Twelve years on from Davie Strath famously refusing to participate in a play-off for the Claret Jug, there was another bizarre incident at St Andrews when it appeared extra holes would be needed to determine the Open Champion.

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Jack Burns, Ben Sayers and Davie Anderson all signed for 36-hole scores of 172 in The 28th Open. As a result, the first three-way play-off in the Championship's history was anticipated to take place on the Old Course two days later.

However, unexpected drama followed when a member of the Royal and Ancient scrutinised the scorecards of the competitors.

Upon reviewing Burns' card, the member noticed an arithmetical error on the front nine of his morning round. Burns' scores for the first nine holes added up to 46, but the player had marked a tally of 47.

Given the individual scores for each hole were correct and it was only Burns' addition that was at fault, his first-round total was amended and he was declared the Champion with an aggregate of 171, one better than Sayers and Anderson.

Victory represented a clear career highlight for Burns, who was born in St Andrews but had taken up a role as a professional in Warwickshire at the time of his win.

He had only previously played in The Open when it had been held at the Old Course in 1882 and 1885, finishing 23rd and seventh respectively, and he would never again contend for Open glory in a handful of subsequent appearances.

Sayers, meanwhile, holds a place in the history books as the man to have played in the most Opens without lifting the Claret Jug.

His runner-up finish in 1888 was the closest he came to victory, although he finished in the top-10 on 11 further occasions across 35 appearances in golf's original Major between 1878 and 1914.