The sensational comeback of Ben Hogan in the national open tournament, the surprising marathon triumph of Sam Urzetta in the United States amateur championship, and increased attendance at and membership in tourneys conducted by the United States Golf association, governing body of the game in the U.S., highlighted 1950 golf.
Hogan, winner of the U.S. open in 1948 and victim of a nearly fatal auto-bus collision in Feb. 1949, began his comeback by tying Sam Snead for the Los Angeles open crown in Jan. 1950. Hogan then rested until the U.S. open, played in June over Philadelphia's Merion club course. Tied with Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio after the regulation 72 holes (each had 287), the little Texan shot a 69 in the play-off to win by 4 strokes. Lee Mackey, Jr., an unemployed Birmingham, Ala., professional, set a new single round record of 64 in the opening 18.
Urzetta, 24-year-old East Rochester, N.Y., basketball star, who was playing in his third national amateur, won the championship at Minneapolis, Minn., with a stirring 39-hole victory over the heavy favourite, Frank Stranahan of Toledo, O. It was the longest title battle in the 50-year history of the tournament.
The women's national title was captured by Beverly Hanson of Fargo, N.D., a perennial contender since her junior days, who defeated Mae Murray of Rutland, Vt.. 6 and 4. Miss Murray had previously distinguished herself by eliminating Fay Crocker of Montevideo, Urug., after 27 holes of a scheduled 18-hole match. It was the longest women's match ever played in U.S.G.A. competition.
Chandler Harper of Portsmouth, Va., a highly respected campaigner for a decade, finally won his first major title when he beat Henry Williams, Jr., of Philadelphia, Pa., 4 and 3 in the final match for the Professional Golfers association championship.
In the only international series of the year 1950, the U.S. women's Curtis cup team retained the trophy by vanquishing a visiting team from the British Isles, 7 1/2 to 1 1/2 at Buffalo, N.Y.
The United States and Western Golf associations both showed profitable ledgers at the end of the year. The latter derived substantial contributions to its Evans Scholars' fund through its three championships. The U.S.G.A. set a record for attendance at the open, proceeds at the Merion club tournament being $29,701.35. For the third straight year U.S.G.A. memberships increased, the roster in 1950 being 1,448. Membership had in-creased by 697 in the five years since World War II.
Other winners of important championships during 1950 included Stanley Bielat, Yonkers, N.Y., national public links; Mason Rudolph, Clarksville, Tenn., U.S.G.A. boys' junior; Pa-tricia Lesser, Seattle, Wash., U.S.G.A. girls' junior; and Fred Wampler, Purdue university, Lafayette, Ind., national intercol legiate.
Sam Snead of White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., led all profes- sional money winners for the 1950 season with earnings of more than $33,000, while the $I7,000 plus won by Mildred (Babe) Didrickson Zaharias of Chicago, Ill., outdistanced all other women professionals.