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The only player who could live with him that week was his teammate in the side that had lost the Ryder Cup in America the previous year, Syd Easterbrook. Syd, the professional from a local club - Knowle, finished with a last nine of 31 to be second on 272, nine shots ahead of third placed Walter Pursey, who had performed well in the Open in the early twenties when based at East Devon, but had since joined the growing exodus of pros to the USA and was now visiting from Seattle. I was to play Syd Easterbrook in a memorable match the following year. He was a very attacking player who swung hard, finishing with a Palmer-like flourish. Tommy Barber was thereabouts again, finishing in a share of fourth place with Charlie Ward. I was well off the pace in a tie for 12th.

The Open was at Prince’s in Kent that year, the only time it was ever to be held there. At 7060 yards, the course was the longest used for the championship up to that time, beating the 6750 yards of neighbouring Royal St George’s in 1928. Before the championship a match took place over Prince’s between pros representing England and Scotland, reviving the international series last played in 1913. England beat Scotland 13-3, with the top match in the singles between two of the fiercest competitors, Scotland’s George Duncan and the giant midlander, Archie Compston, resulting in a half. Henry Cotton again demonstrated his disinclination to be bound by authority and refused to play because the match was too near to the start of the Open. His burning ambition was to win the Claret Jug and end the eight-year run of the Americans - and he did not consider that the International matches were the ideal preparation. Such was Henry’s determination to win the championship that his preparation for the next Open would began the day after the event finished. I had yet to be selected and was at Sandwich to make my debut in the Open, as were the late Sam King and the sixteen-year-old Max Faulkner, one of the very few of my rivals from those pre-war years who is still with us today. (Max Faulkner passed away in 2005)

Not far from my club another long-lasting sportsman made his debut that year for Stoke City Football Club; the seventeen-year-old Stanley Matthews, who became the first footballer knight, was to return and play for them again - on his 50th birthday!

Tommy ArmourI went down to Kent with the aforementioned Brand Hall member, Jack Mitchley, who was also entered for the Open. He had borrowed his Dad’s car; a big Austin built like a Tank and almost as difficult to steer. We both had early finishes on one of the qualifying days and decided to go over to Margate. As neither of us had visited the resort before we had a good look around and ended up running late for dinnertime at our digs in Deal. Jack put his foot down throwing the ‘Tank’ round the bends but he was not prepared for a very sharp one on the unfamiliar road. He wrenched the wheel hard over and just made it, but one of his back tyres came off and was last seen careering across a field at a spanking pace. The car continued bumping along on the rim until he brought it to a stop and the wheel was beyond repair. Fortunately the spare was in working order and we were relieved to get back on the road, - but how would he explain the damage to his Dad? We had a late dinner in Deal that night – in the local Fish and Chip shop!

It was something of a baptism of fire for me. You can imagine my feelings when I saw the draw for the qualifying rounds. In those days even the top ranked players had to go through qualifying and the name next to mine was E. Sarazan (Lakeville, USA) - the famous American Eugene (Gene) Sarazen, known as ‘The Squire’. He had been a regular member of the US Ryder Cup team since the first official match in 1927 and was third equal (with Percy Alliss) at the previous year’s Open at Carnoustie, a shot behind the second placed Argentinean, José Jurado and two behind Tommy Armour’s winning total.

On the Prince’s first tee my brother George (who again qualified and went on to make the cut) introduced me to the cheerful looking American with the infectious grin and told him that it was my first Open. Gene advised me to ignore him and just concentrate on my own game. I replied that it was not so much him I was worried about as the two thousand people that had gathered to watch him. They had paid 2/6d (12 ½ p) (plus another 2/6d for the car park), the proceeds going to two local hospitals at the request of the PGA.