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.

Year Champion Nationality Course Score Winning Margin Runner Up
1907 Arthur Duncan (a) New Zealand Napier 159 7 strokes J Carne Bidwell (a)
1908 Joe Clements New Zealand Otago 335 1 stroke David Hood
1909 Joe Clements New Zealand Auckland 324 6 strokes J Carne Bidwell (a)
1910 Arthur Duncan (a) New Zealand Christchurch 295 11 strokes Joe Clements
1911 Arthur Duncan (a) New Zealand Wanganui 319 3 strokes J C Johnson
1912 Joe Clements New Zealand Wellington 322 3 strokes B. B. Wood (a)
1913 Ted Douglas Scotland Otago 303 9 strokes Reg Butters
1914 Ted Douglas Scotland Auckland 313 2 strokes Arthur Duncan (a)
1919 Ted Douglas Scotland Napier 327 18 hole playoff Sloan Morpeth (a)
1920 Joe Kirkwood, Sr. Australia Hamilton 304 11 strokes Arthur East & Sloan Morpeth (a)


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