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The PGA Championship

Tournament Info for: 1934 PGA Championship
Date: July 24 - 29, 1934
Site: Park Club of Buffalo
Champion: Paul Runyan
Purse: $7,200.00
Field: 32
Cut at:
Par: 0 - 0 - 0 (00 yards)
Players Advanced: 0

Qualifying for Match Play: A 36-hole qualifying round was conducted the Tuesday before the Championship. Defending PGA Champion Gene Sarazen was exempt from qualifying, and Bob Crowley was low qualifier with 138. A score of 145 qualified for match play, with 10 players at 146 having to play for eight spots. Some notables who qualified in the playoff were Walter Hagen, Denny Shute and Leo Diegel. All matches were played at 36 holes. Early Matches: In the first round, defending PGA Champion Gene Sarazen almost went down in defeat to Herman Barren. Sarazen was 2-down after the 28th hole, but won five of the next seven holes to win, 3 and 2. Less fortunate were two former PGA Champions, Hagen and Diegel. Hagen had the misfortune to play Denny Shute, who was 10-under-par in a 4-and-3 victory. Diegel lost to Fay Coleman, 4 and 2, in a match that found Diegel behind from the beginning. Other upsets in the first round saw former U.S. Open winners Billy Burke and Johnny Farrell both eliminated. Burke went down to Vie Ghezzi in a 2-and-1 decision, and Johnny Farrell was routed, 8 and 6, by Paul Runyan. In another upset, Ky Laffoon overwhelmed Horton Smith, 12 and 10, in one of the biggest routs in PGA Championship history. Of the 16 matches, only one made it to the 36th hole, as Ted Turner beat Willie Goggin, 1-up, in a match that was decided in 37 holes. In the second round, Sarazen was eliminated by Al Watrous, 4 and 3, in a match where Sarazen attempted to make a comeback. Although 2-down after the 29th hole, Sarazen birdied the next hole to get within one, but Watrous birdied the 31st and 32nd holes. When Sarazen bogeyed the 33rd hole the match was over. In another match, Ted Turner had Bob Crowley 2-down with three holes to play, but bogeyed the 34th and 35th holes to put things all square going into the final hole. Crowley birdied the hole to sneak by Turner, 1-up. In the morning round, Shute registered a 66 and was 6-up on Ky Laffoon, but Laffoon wouldn't give up, playing the afternoon front nine in 32 to pick up two holes. Laffoon birdied the 28th and 31st holes to get to just 2-down with five holes left, but Shute sank a 10-footer at the 32nd hole to go 3-up. He halved the next two with par-4s to win the match, 3 and 2. In disgust over his loss, Laffoon played the rest of the holes for an unofficial course-record 64. In the quarter-finals, Shute continued his sub-par pace with a 7-under-par day to beat Al Houghton, 6 and 5. The most unusual thing about the match was that Shute was 2-down to Houghton after the eighth hole, but a rally of four successive birdies swung the match into his favor as he finished the morning round with a 68 to be 4-up. Shute played the front nine in the afternoon in 33 to increase his lead to 5-up and he finished the match on the 31 st hole, making an 80-footer for a birdie. In other matches. Gene Kunes eliminated the medalist, Bob Crowley, 4 and 3, while Craig Wood had to fight back in the afternoon match to gain a 2-and-l victory over Watrous. Wood was 3-down after the 19th hole and then ran a streak of four 3s in a row. When he made the turn, he was 1 -up. They halved the next two holes, then Watrous made birdie at the 30th hole to square the match. Wood birdied the 32nd hole and with another birdie at the 35th hole, closed the match, 2 and 1. In the closest match of the day, Runyan scored a 1-up victory over Dick Metz, who never had the lead during the day. Runyan bogeyed the 33rd hole to square the match for the fourth time, but on the next hole hit a pitching wedge to within a foot of the hole to gain a 1-up lead. Playing the last hole, Metz had a two-footer for par, while Runyan had some problems and was left with a 10-footer for par. Runyan made the putt. In the semifinals, Shute continued his assault on par, as he was 6-under-par, but ran into Wood, who also was 6-under and beat him, 2 and 1. For Wood it was some retribution for losing to Shute in a playoff for the 1933 British Open. Wood had a sensational morning round of 65, which gave him a 6-up lead, but when Shute shot a 34 on the front side of the afternoon round, Wood's lead was down to two. Shute birdied the 29th hole, but Wood birdied the 30th to keep the lead at two. Shute made another birdie at the 31st which put him 1-down again and after both players made fours at the 32nd hole, Wood made a 12-footer at the 33rd hole to go back to 2-up. When Shute couldn't make a birdie at the 34th or 35th hole, the match ended. Even though Shute was 34-under-par in the 133 holes of match play, he was eliminated, winning $200 for his efforts. Paul Runyan stopped Gene Kunes, 4 and 2, despite the fact that he was 4-down after 10 holes of play. Run-yan won the 11th hole and then won 17 and 18 to go to lunch just 1-down. By the 25th hole, Runyan had squared the match, and with a 20-footer for birdie at the 29th hole, was finally up in the match. Two holes later Runyan made another birdie, and with a Kunes bogey at the 32nd hole, became 3-up. Runyan halved the next hole and won the match when Kunes missed his par putt at the 33rd hole. Not since 1923 had any PGA final been so close and gone so long as the 1934 PGA Championhip. Runyan, the pupil and putting wizard, beat his former instructor, the power-hitting Wood, 1-up. In the morning round. Wood, had a 1-up lead but lost his advantage on the front side of the afternoon round. Wood got his lead back at the 29th hole with an eagle 3, but Runyan squared the match three holes later with a birdie. Runyan picked up a hole with a Wood bogey at the 33rd hole. At the 35th hole, Wood almost holed his second shot, making birdie and bringing the match all square going into the last hole. Both players missed the final green with their second shots, and chipped within 12 feet. It took PGA President George Jacobus to decide who would putt first and, with considerable care, he determined that Runyan's ball was away. Runyan made his putt, and even though Wood had a tougher putt, he putted into the hole, forcing extra holes. At the par-5 37th hole, Runyan was short of the green in two, while Wood was just eight feet away for an eagle. Runyan hit a great chip within two feet of the hole and was able to halve the hole when Wood missed his match-winning putt. At the next hole. Wood hooked his drive under a tree and sent his second shot into the crowd, left of the green. Runyan didn't do much better with his second shot, as he pushed it right of the green. He had a tough shot over a bunker, but he played a good shot and the ball stopped eight feet away. Wood chipped 12 feet short of the cup and almost made his par putt. Runyan then took his aluminum-headed putter and made the winning putt to the cheers of 2,500 enthusiastic fans.

Road to the Finals
Paul Runyan beatRoundCraig Wood beat
Leo Fraser,  6 and 5 Johnny Forrell,  8 and 6 First Round
(18 Holes)
Harry Cooper,  4 and 3 Vic Ghezzi,  2 and 1 Second Round
(18 Holes)
Al Watrous,  2 and 1 Dick Metz,  1-up Quarter Final
(36 Holes)
Denny Shute,  2 and 1 Gene Kunes Sr.,  4 ond 2 Semi Final
(36 Holes)
Herman Barren     Sarazen
3 and 2
Gene Sarazen    
Errie Ball     Watrous
8 and 7
Al Watrous    
Harry Cooper     Cooper
4 and 2
Bill Mehlhorn    
Leo Fraser     Wood
6 and 5
Craig Wood    
Ky Laffoon     Laffoon
12 and 10
George Smith    
Walter Hagen     Shute
4 and 3
Denny Shute    
George Christ     Houghton
7 and 6
Al Houghton    
Fay Coleman     Coleman
4 and 2
Leo Diegel    
Dick Metz     Metz
6 and 5
Joe Poletti    
Tommy Armour III     Armour III
4 and 3
Al Nelson    
Eddie Burke     Ghezzi
2 and 1
Vic Ghezzi    
Johnny Forrell     Runyan
8 and 6
Paul Runyan    
Jim Foulis     Revolta
7 and 6
Johnny Revolta    
Gene Kunes Sr.     Kunes Sr.
3 and 2
Orville White    
Willie Goggin     Turner
1-up (37)
Ted Turner    
Bob Crowley     Crowley
3 and 2
Eddie Loos    
 
Watrous
4 and 3
 
 
Wood
4 and 3
 
 
Shute
3 and 2
 
 
Houghton
4 and 3
 
 
Metz
3 and 2
 
 
Runyan
2 and 1
 
 
Kunes Sr.
2 and 1
 
 
Crowley
1-up
 
Wood
2 and 1
Shute
6 and 5
Runyan
1-up
Kunes Sr.
4 and 3
 
Wood
2 and 1
 
 
Runyan
4 ond 2
 
Runyan
1-up (38)