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♦ — ; 7 ■ Tab Ben Hog an Man to Beat In National Open Tournament 4 Texan Has Three Straight Victories to His Credit; 162 Golfers Are, Entered By ED FITE United Press Sports Writer DALLAS, Texas, June 7.— Little Ben Hogans meticulous golfing habits when the chips are down stamped him today as the man to beat as the nations golfing clan moved on Dallas for the sixty-second annual National Open tournament, opening at Northwood Club Thursday. The diminuitive Texan, seeking his fourth Open crown in as many starts, was expected to draw his most serious; challenges for domination of golfdoms No. 1 tournament from Sammy Snead, the West Virginia slammer, * and Lloyd Mangrum, a transplanted Texan from Chicago. Outside of this triumvirate, it was a wild guess as to which one of the other tournament veterans or one of the "Johnny-come-latelys"N might stampede out of the pack and cofiquer Northwoods long, 6,764-yard layout convincingly enough to take home ,000 top money and the prestige. WhUe not as fearsome a course as Oakland Hills at Birmingham, Mich., where Hogan won with a seven-over-par 287 last year, Northwoods 35-35—70 was expected to be more than a match for the 162-player field. Hogan, who won this most coveted of links laurels in 1948, 1950 and 1951, has been getting in some early practice licks on the course and says "a 283 or 284 will be a wonderful score." Comments on Fairways Long, narrow fairways, strategically-placed traps and an abundance of trees caused the champion to comment, "You cant stray once from the straight and narrow here and keep on speaking acquaintance with par." In practice, Bantam Ben has gotten within hailing distance of regulation fig-; ures, but he certainly doesnt consider himself on familiar terms with old man par. Northwood, the second club in Texas history to play host to the open, wasnt anything but an idea less than six years ago, and the first ball was teed up only four years ago. Its never hosted a major tournament. But, despite its deceptively easy looks, Northwood has never given much ground to par. Its been toughened under USGA supervision by addition of 20 new traps, ;transplanting of 225 trees and by allowing the rough to grow to narrow the fairways. Hogan, who competes in only three tournaments a year now, has broken even in his first two starts— scrambling around off the pace at the Masters, then blazing from behind in a typical Hogan finish to win the Colonial Invitation at Fort Worth two weeks ago. Hogan wants desperately to win this one and match Willie Anderson and Bobby Jones as four-time winners of the Open and the first man since Anderson turned the trick in 1903-04-05 to triumph three years in a row. Snead, despite his huge money earnings and multitudinous titles, has never won the Open, his best previous efforts having been a runner-up spot to Ralph Guldahl back in 1937, a tie in 1947-with Lew Wor-sham, who went on to win over Snead by a stroke in a playoff, and a second-place tie with Clayton Heafner in 1949. Mangrum, 1951s top money winner and riding the crest of sub-par play that won him the Western Open crown last weekend at St. Louis, won the 1946 Open championship in a playoff with Byron Nelson and Vic Ghezzi. Jack Burke, Jr., of .Houston, and Cary Middlecoff of Memphis, the latter an Open winner in 1949, ranked behind Hogan, Snead and Mangrum as pre-tournament choices with host pro Ray Gaf ford as sentimental home town choice, and a good "dark horse" bet. Gaf ford led in the Colonial through three rounds, but his game fell apart to an 80 in the final round to let Hogan slip in on top.