Alex Murray


Past Champion

1935, 1948 & 1952


Place of Birth: Scotland

Notable Achievements

  • 1935 New Zealand Open
  • 1935 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1939 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1947 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1948 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1952 New Zealand Open

Alex Murray claimed three New Zealand Open titles, and could have had a fourth!

1935 New Zealand Open: A return to the Christchurch Golf Club’s S.S.S.72 course at Shirley saw the first two days, October 11 and 12, played in the best possible conditions.

Overhead a northeast wind tempered the heat and the course had been well watered, providing holding greens in most cases. Scoring 69 each day the young amateur J.P. Hornabrook led the field from Arthur Duncan with two 70’s and professional Shaw who scored 68 and 72.

On the final day, however, drenching rain and strong southerly winds called for both accuracy and control. Hornabrook scored 78 both in the morning and afternoon to slip to fourth equal, while Duncan was feted by the gallery and the media in scoring two notable 76’s at sixty years of age.

This was only good enough for third however as a great struggle was ensuing for the first two places. Shaw took the lead after the morning round by one stroke, but the afternoon 71 of Alex Murray, a young Scottish professional brought to New Zealand earlier as an assistant for Douglas, was exceptional in the conditions and gave him the title.

Shaw’s first-round 68 won him the Jellicoe Cup, while Duncan took out the Bledisloe Cup that had been presented the previous year.

1948 New Zealand Open: Played at Balmacewen, Dunedin in fine weather but with a cold north-easterly wind over the three days of November 18 to 20. This, along with the sloping and undulating greens made putting difficult and it was claimed there were more three-putts in this event than at any other such time in the history of New Zealand golf.

The local amateur A. Gibbs with 145 led the field after the first two days by one stroke from Murray, with Silk on 148 and Glading 149. Both Kitto and Fuller had scored 72 in their second rounds which indicated the early leaders could find the considerable competition on the final day.

It was left however to Murray and Silk to provide the excitement. In the final round, a disastrous 8 at the eleventh hole saw Murray fall behind when Silk completed his round in par 73. The largest gallery seen in Dunedin then enjoyed some superlative golf culminating in a birdie on the final green to give the Titirangi professional his second Open title by one stroke.

1952 New Zealand Open: The Belmont course was strongly criticised at this time for a lack of water on the greens. This was most noticeable on the first day of the tournament, played on October 16 to 18, when gale-force winds hoisted scores to levels bettered by some up to sixteen strokes during the excellent conditions on the final two days.

A visiting Australian amateur team suffered similarly, but on the final day finished strongly. It was to a very consistent Alex Murray to claim the title for his third occasion.

1937 New Zealand Open: St.Andrews, Hamilton was played in pleasant conditions on September 30th and October 1st and 2nd. This event became probably the most sensational in this pre-war period of the Championship. The first two days play saw the Auckland professional, Moss leading with 76-70-146, followed by the young amateur Hornabrook with 150, then Murray and Shaw with 151 and 153 respectively.

When the cards were returned after the final round the scores showed Murray three strokes ahead among this quartet, the remainder all finishing on 299. However Murray had marked his ball on the eighth green in the last round, and while Hornabrook putted out, tapped his ball along the edge of the green.

The ensuing disqualification required Shaw, Moss and Hornabrook to playoff for the title over eighteen holes next day. Shaw led the trio after nine holes, going out in 37, two strokes ahead of his adversaries. Hornabrook’s homeward score of 34 however, gave him the title by two strokes from Moss, the first amateur victor since Sloan Morpeth in 1928.

Last updated 18 August, 2020

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