September 19, 1913 US Open Tournament play day two

 

 

2:00 am Heavy rain starts and lasts through out the day.

Shortly after 8 am Eddie Lowery arrives Francis Ouimet's porch with a huge black umbrella prepared to protect the club's that were about to up end the golfing world. Francis having played so many rain drenched rounds at The Country Club is eager to greet the day.

The heavy rain forced a local rule "to the effect that a ball that came down heavily on the green and got stuck might be loosened by the referee"

10:30 am Francis Ouimet leaves the locker room and heads to the putting green for a little warm up. The heavy rain continues.

10:55 am Francis steps to the 1st tee to be greeted by a gallery estimated at 3000, including brother Raymond. Others of note to Francis were his employer George Wright, Frank Hoyt leading a contingent from Francis's home course Woodland Golf Club, Dan McNamara his former caddie master at The Country Club and his old Country Club patron Mr. Hastings.

11:00am Francis tees off and rips his drive 240 yards dead center of the fairway. The gallery explodes sending its signal to 246 Clyde St. that Francis has started. Mary Ouimet, Francis's mother drops what she is doing and goes to sit on the front porch, across the street from the 17th green,  facing the golf course, her Rosary beads clutched in her hand. The swelling waves of applause would continue and grow through out the day.

In spite of torrents of rain the gallery grows all day reaching a count estimated at 10,000 far and away the largest golfing gallery ever. Their cheers for young Francis thundering through and beyond the Brookline neighborhood with each of his shots. As the late day swarms, led by the knowing caddies, began to arrive at the 17th green Mary Ouimet could no longer wait, she dashed across the street to join the growing crowd of 10,000+ and watched her son making history. Although many in the gallery, like Mary, were new to golf, in fact had never seen live golf, all were aware they were witnessing something special, something that would transcend history itself. 

A drawing of the 17th hole at The Country Club, Brookline as it would have played in 1913.

  5:00pm On the 17th tee, 2 holes to go, 1 stroke off the pace. Francis nails his drive down the right side leaving himself a clear shot into this dog leg left par 4. Upon arriving at his ball, without hesitation, he asks Eddie for his jigger and stripes it. Landing just short of the green the ball rolls up about 20 feet past and left of the hole leaving himself a side hill, down hill slider. Arriving at the green, giving it a good look and pre-shot routine Francis gives the putt a go...holding.....holding.....snap to the right....IT'S IN THE HOLE ! The applause that followed rocked Downtown Brookline more then 2 miles away. 

After more than a minute the crowd some how gathered itself and rushed to 18 and formed a huge "black amphitheater", as after all Francis had one more hole to play. 

 
5:12 pm Looking down the umbrella lined 18th fairway Francis sees only the center 235 yards out. One smooth swing and the ball rockets to its target. The crowd swarms and cheers at once, running cheering. In what seems like seconds the spectators surround Eddie and Francis leaving a narrow corridor for his approach. (By now his playing partner, former US Open Champion and record holder George Sargent not even an after thought.)  Swooish, another picture perfect swing and once again the ball races to its target finishing 35 feet past the pin. Francis arrives and rolls it up, knowing with his level of adrenalin a par will bring a tie, and a birdie attempt could bring disaster. The ball stops up 3 feet past the hole leaving the classic up hill finishing putt which he quickly holes.....silence....then PANDEMONIUM ERUPTS ! Some say if you go by the 17th or 18th green at 5:30 on any given Friday you can still hear the cheers, still feel the excitement. Never in the history of golf or sport had a tie brought such a celebration, cheers and tears, running and hugging. Something truly special had just happened and little did these folks know it was going to change everything. 

"The scenes that attended Ouimet's march over the last four holes have never been equaled on an American or European golf course." The Washington Post September 20, 1913


View from the tee. Note the
line of spectators down the 
right side of the fairway.

What a day, Louis Tellier has the lead with 9 holes to go and slips back, Reid drops from contention in his 1st six holes, Ray catches Vardon, and Ouimet catches them both by shooting a morning round 74 and birding 17 when it really mattered.

By evening the buzz in the Boston area was reaching a fever pitch. In the working class bars through out the area "Did ya' hear about that caddie in Brookline taking down all those rich folks at their own game ? He's in some kind of playoff tomorrow with a couple of 'em and I'll be there." On Beacon Hill you might have heard  "How about that young gentleman from Brookline teaching those golfing professionals how to play. There's going to be a play off tomorrow I think I'll attend."  And from Springfield to Dedham, Lawrence to New Bedford "What do you think of that kid over in Brookline tying those British guys at that game of golf they think they're so damn good at ?  I got the feeling we're gonna' have another British Invasion repelled here in Boston. Better get up early tomorrow, not gonna' wanna' miss this."  And in the neighborhood surrounding The Country Club and 246 Clyde Street, "Mary and Arthur's boy Francis seems to be doing quite well over at that big golf tournament, they say he's playing again tomorrow, perhaps we can stop by." Stop by they did.

No matter who you were, one of your own was going to be putting it on the line tomorrow and whether you could tell a golf ball from a fur ball you knew you wanted to be part of it. 

 

September 20, 1913 The US Open Play off

Second  Day 1913 US Open Scores

 

 

1913 US Open

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