National Open Field Faces Rugged Test: Hogan and Snead Favored As 162 Get Ready to Try Worlds Toughest Course, Daily Racing Form, 1951-06-14


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r ww*: Wide World Photo BEN HOGAN — One of the favorites in the National Open Golf tournament beginning at Detroit today. NationalOpen Field Faces Rugged Test Hogan and Snead Favored As 162 Get Ready to Try Worlds Toughest Course By OSCAR FRALEY United Press Sports Writer BIRMINGHAM, Mich., June 13.— Defending champion Ben Hogan and Slam-min Sammy Snead moved into the favorites roles tonight as a crack field of 162, tense with anticipation and trepidation, awaited tomorrows opening of the TJ. S. Open Golf Championship at man-eating Oakland Hills Country Club. Fame and fortune awaited the man who led the field at the end of the fourth round Saturday evening. But everybody knew the ultimate winner was going to need as much luck as skill to wind up on top in what figured to be one of the most wide open events in the classics 51-year history. Even before the first tee shot was fired, reputations were shaken by a course which Hogan and British Open Champion Bobby Locke both described as "the toughest in the world." Locke, only last week regarded as the one to beat, had virtually lost all support after carding a 77 and an 80 in practice rounds. Golf had gone back 20 years, for once again the slogan was "Jones against the field." This time though it wasnt Bobby, the grand slam guy of 1930, but Robert Trent Jones, a cunning golf architect who came up with a fiendish fairway layout when he revamped Oakland Hills. 121 Sand Traps Practically everybody had the "shakes" as they regarded the 6,927-yard par 70 course with its 121 yawning sand traps. The fairways have been narrowed to the point of disappearance and the traps placed virtually across some fairways at points where they penalized the long hitters. Even Hogan, a mechanical marvel leading 10 other former Open champs into tomorrows first 18-hole leg, was bitter about the course and the pros were practically unanimous in designating the layout "unfair". Bantam Ben holds the open record of 276, set three years ago at Los Angeles, but estimates on the winning score ranged from 285 to 290, against a four-round par of 280. This marked the third time the Open has been held at Oakland Hills. Cyril Walker won it here in 1924 and Ralph Guldahl set a record 281 here in 1937, a mark which stood until it was cracked by Hogan three years ago. But the feeling was unanimous that neither Hogans record nor the one-round mark of 64, set by Lee Mackey of Birmingham, Ala., at Merion last year, would even be threatened. There was one ray of sunshine through an all-day rain which limited todays prac- tice. That was the downpour which had slowed the greens and assured virtually true putting despite extreme undulations on the larger than normal putting surfaces. Other former champions who, along with Hogan, were shooting for American golfs greatest prize once again were Gene Sara-zen, playing in his twenty-eighth consecutive Open, veteran Tommy Armour, pudgy Billy Burke, Sam Parks, Toney Manero, Lawson Little, Lloyd Mangrum, Lew Wor-sham and Cary Middlecoff .

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