OUR STORY: 1907 – 1920

In this series of articles, we will be breaking down the Story of the New Zealand Open, highlighting the history of the last 100 years, the winners, the courses, the stats and more!

OUR STORY 1 of 10: 1907 – 1920

Image supplied by New Zealand Golf

During the first 10 tournaments held between 1907 and 1920 (no tournaments played 1915 – 1918), there were three different Champions who each won three titles apiece. The inaugural New Zealand Open, which included a field of 123 Amateurs and seven professionals was held at the Napier Golf Club.

The tournament was dominated by future amateur legend, Arthur Duncan, who became the first New Zealand Open Champion winning by 7 strokes. Arthur Duncan continued his winning ways as an Amateur capturing the 1910 and 1911 crowns to add to the first in 1907.

At the young age of just 19, Joe Clements was the first professional and the first back-to-back Champion taking out the 1908 & 1909 titles in Auckland and Otago respectively. Joe also took out the 1912 crown with a three-shot win in Wellington.

Image supplied by New Zealand Golf

Scotland’s Ted Douglas was the first non-kiwi to win the New Zealand Open and is one of only three players to win three titles in-a-row. His 1919 victory became the first playoff victory, where over 18 extra holes in Napier he edged out Sloan Morpeth 82 – 85.

In 1920 we also saw the first Australian win the tournament with Joe Kirkwood Snr claiming his only New Zealand Open title in Hamilton by a record equally 11 shots.

The lowest championship-winning score in this era was 159 shot by Arthur Duncan in Napier (played over 36 holes) Duncan also held the record for the lowest 72 hole win shooting 295 in Christchurch. The highest winning score was 335 by Joe Clements in 1908.

YearChampionNationalityCourseScoreWinning MarginRunner Up
1907Arthur Duncan (a)New ZealandNapier1597 strokesJ Carne Bidwell (a)
1908Joe ClementsNew ZealandOtago3351 strokeDavid Hood
1909Joe ClementsNew ZealandAuckland3246 strokesJ Carne Bidwell (a)
1910Arthur Duncan (a)New ZealandChristchurch29511 strokesJoe Clements
1911Arthur Duncan (a)New ZealandWanganui3193 strokesJ C Johnson
1912Joe ClementsNew ZealandWellington3223 strokesB. B. Wood (a)
1913Ted DouglasScotlandOtago3039 strokesReg Butters
1914Ted DouglasScotlandAuckland3132 strokesArthur Duncan (a)
1919Ted DouglasScotlandNapier32718 hole playoffSloan Morpeth (a)
1920Joe Kirkwood, Sr.AustraliaHamilton30411 strokesArthur East & Sloan Morpeth (a)


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