Gullane Golf Club, East Lothian – In breezy, but beautiful autumnal conditions, the players of the 15th World Hickory Open showed amazing patience, concentration and above all their sense of humour as they tee’d off at Gullane Golf Club for the final round of the World Hickory Open on Scotland’s Golf Coast this morning.
The championship has been exciting to follow as Swede Olle Widegren paved the way on day one after the first round at Kilspindie on Tuesday. Olle was on top of the leaderboard, on 2 under par, followed by former champion Fraser Mann, from Scotland, and fellow Brit Andrew Marshall who were both tied with Miguel Carrasco from Spain on three over par.
Wednesday saw round two commence over Gullane No.2 where Olle Widegren maintained his lead by four shots, ahead of former champion Andrew Marshall. Defending Champion Johan Moberg was gathering pace and had a stunning second round which put him in third position by the end of the day.
With Swede’s in both first and third position going into the final day, it looked inevitable that it would be a Swedish flag above the podium. In what has been the one of the most exciting hickory shoot outs for almost a century, performing for a £6000 GBP purse, it was a historical moment in golf as Olle Widegren finished the final day with a score of 72 to take the title.
With players from 15 countries from around the world, from as far as the USA, Japan, Australia and Scandinavia, competition was fierce. However, it was the Swede who walked away as the World Hickory Open Champion. Olle Widegren from Sweden is the 2019 World Hickory Open Champion. His scores of 67, 68 and 72, for a total of 207, are impressive scores in any period, but even more surprising when achieved with clubs that date back 100 years. In second place was former champion Andrew Marshall followed by defending champion Johan Moberg in third place.
These skilful players, such as last year’s winner Johan Moberg, 2017 winner Fraser Mann and former Masters Champ & World Hickory competitor Sandy Lyle, are still able to hit powerful near-300-yards yard drives and record scores of as little as 67, although this has only been achieved twice in the tournament’s history.
Competition consisted of a large number of international amateur and professional golfers. As in past years, the field reflected many of the world’s best hickory golfers. Organizers were delighted with entrants from more than a dozen countries. Out of the 130 plus competitors, over 20 arrived from Switzerland, a country that counts some serious hickory golf experts.
Sweden is another European country that has embraced hickory golf at a very accomplished level, with literally thousands playing the game back home. The World Hickory welcomed over 20 of them this year. It’s no wonder they claimed the podium.
The next largest team was not unsurprisingly from the USA, led by Mike Stevens, former champ and U.S. champion. In addition, England, led by Andrew Marshall from Norfolk, has been well represented again this year. Andrew was Open champion at Carnoustie in 2015. Other nations entered included both Austria, Denmark, and another half-dozen countries, emphasizing the rapid growth of the game in Europe.
And as for Japan, they may be out of the Rugby World Cup, but Team Japan romped to victory as winners of the Archie Baird International Trophy challenge, sponsored by Swiss Healthcare Performance Group, on Monday in stunning conditions at Dunbar Golf Club.
More than 80 percent of the 2019 tournament’s entrants have competed in the past and are likely to return as the game continues to grow in this extraordinary but incredibly beautiful location of Scotland’s Golf Coast.
Scores were as follows:
Olle Widegren Sweden 67 68 72 207
Andrew Marshall England 72 67 73 212
Johan Moberg Sweden 75 67 71 213
World Hickory Amateur Champion details to be added.