Esmeralda Open

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Esmeralda Open
Tournament information
Location Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Established 1945
Course(s) Indian Canyon Golf Course
Par 70 - (1947)
72 - (1945)
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Format Stroke play - 72 holes
Prize fund $10,000
Month played August (1947)
September (1945)
Final year 1947
Tournament record score
Aggregate 266 Byron Nelson (1945)
To par –22 Byron Nelson (1945)
Final champion
United States Herman Keiser

The Esmeralda Open was a golf tournament on the PGA Tour that was played in 1945 and 1947 in Spokane, Washington. It was held at Indian Canyon Golf Course, a municipal facility designed in 1930 by Chandler Egan[1][2] on the west end of the city, and opened in 1935.[3] The Esmeralda Open was organized by the Spokane Athletic Round Table, a fraternal organization, headed by Joe Albi. The ART's emblem was a laughing horse named Esmeralda, which inspired the title of the charity tournament.[4][5] The Round Table would later be instrumental in the construction of the city's Esmeralda Golf Course, opened in 1956 in northeast Spokane.[6] It also was the driving force behind Spokane Memorial Stadium, named for Albi in 1962.

The Esmeralda Open was held annually for over a decade, but most editions featured local and regional golfers, and was not part of the PGA Tour. The first in 1943 was a 54-hole event played at Downriver,[7] and the 1949 tournament included Bing Crosby,[8] who was raised in Spokane. It was not held in 1944, when the 1944 PGA Championship was played at Manito Golf and Country Club in south Spokane.[9][10] In 1946, Spokane and the ART hosted the very first U.S. Women's Open at the Spokane Country Club, north of the city.[11] An attempt was made to have the PGA Tour return in 1954,[12] but was unsuccessful.[13]

1945[edit]

The second Esmeralda Open, and the first as a tour event, was held in September 1945. It was won by Byron Nelson by seven strokes over runner-up Harold "Jug" McSpaden, followed by Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. Nelson shot a 64 (–8) in the final round for a 266, an unofficial tour record at the time of 22-under par.[14] His winner's share of the $10,000 event was $1,500 in cash and $2,000 in war bonds.[15]

It was Nelson's sixteenth victory of 18 during his record-setting year.[16] Several course records were established at the 1945 tournament. McSpaden shot a course-record 30 on his final front nine and Snead shot a final-round 63 (–9) to set another course record.[15][16]

1947[edit]

For the 1947 event, par was changed to 70 and the tournament was played in early August. Herman Keiser shot a one-under 69 on Sunday to finish at 273 (–7), one stroke ahead of three runners-up: Ben Hogan, Ed Furgol, and Johnny Palmer. Hogan electrified the gallery with an ace at the 161-yard (147 m) fourth hole in the final round.[17] He shot a 68, but missed a putt for par from less than 2 feet (60 cm) on the final hole that would have tied Keiser.[18]

Winners[edit]

Year Dates Champion Winning
score
To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Purse
($)
Winner's
share ($)
1945 Sep 20–23 United States Byron Nelson 66-66-70-64=266 –22 7 strokes United States Harold McSpaden 10,000 1,500
(& $2,000
war bond)
1947 Aug 7–10 United States Herman Keiser 65-69-70-69=273 –7 1 stroke United States Ben Hogan
United States Ed Furgol
United States Johnny Palmer
10,000 2,000

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chandler Egan coming in April". Spokane Daily Chronicle. March 27, 1934. p. 11. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Broom, Ron (April 20, 1935). "It's Like This--". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 12. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Big gallery watches first players on the Indian Canyon Golf Course". Spokesman-Review. August 18, 1935. p. 1-sports. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Pro golf stars head west for Esmeralda Open". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. September 17, 1945. p. 6. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Big Christmas Party Marks Esmeralda Open". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. August 7, 1947. p. 16. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Round Table donates $75,000 for Esmeralda golf house". Spokesman-Review. March 20, 1954. p. 1. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Esmeralda golf tournament lures season's biggest field". Spokane Daily Chronicle. September 16, 1943. p. 12. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ Ashlock, Herb (August 20, 1949). "Oliver, Ward, Welch lead Esmeralda golf". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 9. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ Johnson, Bob (August 14, 1944). "Star golfers tee off today in PGA qualifying rounds". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 12. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Johnson, Bob (August 21, 1944). "Bob Hamilton and A.R.T. turn toward new endeavors". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 12. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ Ashlock, Herb (September 2, 1946). "Patty Berg winner of Women's Open". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 13. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Ward, West good bets to top Esmeralda golf championships". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 27, 1953. p. 34. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Top players enter Esmeralda golf tourney". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 20, 1954. p. 13. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Nelson's 266 wins Esmeralda tourney". Spokesman-Review. September 24, 1945. p. 1. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Ashlock, Herb (September 24, 1945). "Byron Nelson, Esmeralda Champion". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 12. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Nyhan, Paul (August 20, 2002). "Tour History in Washington". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Keiser's putting wins him golf title; champ heads for Portland". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 11, 1947. p. 13. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Keiser annexes Esmeralda Open". Eugene Register-Guard. United Press. August 11, 1947. p. 7. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°38′49″N 117°28′26″W / 47.647°N 117.474°W / 47.647; -117.474