OUR STORY 4 of 10: 1947 – 1956
The 10 tournaments between 1947 and 1956 were split evenly between Trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand and Australia, both picking up five wins apiece.
Australian Peter Thomson won four tournaments (1950, 1951, 1953 & 1955) while Harry Berwick picked up the fifth Australian win as an amateur in Christchurch. Thomson would go on to win another five titles (1959, 1960, 1961, 1965 & 1971) and still holds the record for the most New Zealand Open victories at nine.
Bob Glading and Alex Murray lead the charge for the Kiwis with Glading claiming his second title, this time as a professional, in 1947 with a three-stroke victory. Murray picked up the 1948 and 1952 titles, his second and third New Zealand Open crowns, and Jim Galloway had a narrow one-stroke victory over Glading and amateur L B Johnston in 1949.
This period also saw the introduction of a young 18-year-old Kiwi who would go on to be one of the game’s greats.
Sir Bob Charles won his first New Zealand Open title as an Amateur in 1954 with a two-stroke victory over Australian Bruce Cramption in Wellington. Charles would go on to win 78 times as a professional including six times on the PGA Tour, four times on the European Tour as well as capturing the New Zealand Open three more times. He also holds the record for being the oldest player to make the cut on the European Tour at the New Zealand Open in 2017 at the age of 71.
The lowest winning score in this period was 280, recorded by both Peter Thomson (twice) and Sir Bob Charles, while the highest winning total was also set by Peter Thomson with a 295 in 1953 at Otago. Thompson also claimed the highest winning margin with his ten-stroke win in 1955.
|Year||Champion||Nationality||Course||Score||Winning Margin||Runner Up|
|1947||Bob Glading||New Zealand||New Plymouth||291||3 strokes||Alex Murray|
|1948||Alex Murray||New Zealand||Otago||294||1 stroke||Bryan Silk (a)|
|1949||Jim Galloway||New Zealand||Hastings||283||1 stroke||Bob Glading
LB Johnston (a)
|1950||Peter Thomson||Australia||Christchurch||280||9 strokes||Alf Guy|
|1951||Peter Thomson||Australia||Titirangi||288||4 strokes||Frank Buckler
Tim Woon (a)
|1952||Alex Murray||New Zealand||Wanganui||293||1 stroke||Harry Berwick (a)|
|1953||Peter Thomson||Australia||Otago||295||5 strokes||Frank Buckler|
|1954||Sir Bob Charles(a)||New Zealand||Wellington||280||2 strokes||Bruce Crampton|
|1955||Peter Thomson||Australia||Auckland||280||10 strokes||Kel Nagle|
|1956||Harry Berwick (a)||Australia||Christchurch||295||2 strokes||Sir Bob Charles|