The 58th Open | 1923 Troon

Havers wins at Troon in remarkable fashion

Fighting against the growing tide of American post-war success, Arthur Havers had to produce a moment of magic to win The Open in spectacular circumstances in 1923.

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The Claret Jug had sailed across the Atlantic in the previous two years as the Scottish-born Jock Hutchison and Walter Hagen kicked off a period of dominance for the United States.

And it took Norwich-born Havers to hole out from a bunker on the 18th hole to prevent Hagen from prevailing once again as Troon delivered a dramatic Open debut.

The 58th Open should have been held at Muirfield under the rotation system then in place, only for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to cast doubt on the venue's hosting capabilities.

Instead, the Championship was hosted for the very first time at Troon - the next-door neighbour of original host Prestwick, which had been a regular location during the first 60 years of The Open.

Recently redesigned, lengthened and strengthened by five-time Champion Golfer James Braid, the course provided a fitting climax as the battle for the Claret Jug went all the way down to the 72nd hole.

Havers, who first qualified for the Championship in 1914 aged just 16, was not best equipped for the windy conditions with his tall, slim build and unconventional swing.

His very strong left-hand grip, showing all four knuckles, forced him to keep his hands well ahead of the clubhead as he lunged into the ball, in a style not admired by his contemporaries.

Nevertheless, he began his Open challenge with a 73 in the first round to sit in a tie for second with Tom Fernie and Hugh Roberts, as Australian Joe Kirkwood led the way with a 72.

Another round of 73 moved Havers to the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first day, with fellow Englishman Charles Whitcombe joining him on 146 after rounds of 70 and 76.

Havers then posted a third consecutive 73 in the third round to take the lead on his own going into the final 18 holes, with Kirkwood (69) and Whitcombe (74) one shot further back in a tie for second.

Hagen was also lurking, with rounds of 76, 71 and 74 leaving the American two strokes behind the front-runner in fourth place after the second morning's play.

Inevitably, the defending Champion Golfer piled on the pressure in the afternoon of the final day and it appeared the door was open when Havers found a greenside bunker with his second shot on the 18th.

However, Havers defied the odds to miraculously hole out from the sand trap and post a final round of 76. His aggregate total of 295 meant Hagen needed to also birdie the last to stand a chance.

Hagen ended up finding the same bunker from which Havers had earlier holed out and, while he came close to incredibly repeating the feat of his rival, his effort just missed the cup.

Havers therefore took the Champion Golfer crown from Hagen by one, with Macdonald Smith finishing in third, a further stroke back, and Kirkwood settling for fourth after a final round of 78.