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Posted April 01, 2011 12:04 am |

First Masters winner beat star-studded field

  • Article Photos
    First Masters winner beat star-studded field
    Photos description
    Tournament co-founder Bobby Jones (left) congratulates Horton Smith on his win in the 1934 Augusta National Invitation Tournament.

The field was loaded for the first Augusta National Invitation Tournament in 1934.

A who's who of the game's top pros showed up as Bobby Jones returned to tournament golf to launch his new club and event.

There was Walter Hagen, Jones' chief rival from the 1920s. And Craig Wood, Paul Runyan, Denny Shute and many others.

And Horton Smith.

Smith was the last man to beat Bobby Jones before his Grand Slam campaign of 1930. It happened in Savannah, Ga., early that year, but Jones got revenge a few weeks later when he won the Southeastern Open in Augusta by 13 shots. He wouldn't lose again as he swept the U.S. and British opens and amateurs.

While Jones took most of the attention at the first Masters, Smith played his steady game and held a share of the lead each day.

He opened with 70 and was tied with Emmett French and Jimmy Hines. A pair of 72s left him two shots ahead of the field.

On the final day Smith was in a close battle with Craig Wood. A 3-putt on the 15th resulted in a bogey -- the nines were reversed for the first Masters -- and Smith came to the final three holes tied with Wood.

After a par on the 16th, Smith came to the par-5 17th (now the eighth) looking for a birdie. Smith pitched to about 10 feet and drained the birdie putt, then made a tricky par putt on the final hole to claim a one-shot victory over Wood.

Smith won $1,500, and two years later he won for the second time at Augusta National.