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The PGA Championship

Tournament Info for: 1944 PGA Championship
Date: August 14 - 20, 1944
Site: Manito Golf & Country Club
Champion: Bob Hamilton
Purse: $14,500.00
Field: 32
Cut at:
Par: 0 - 0 - 0 (00 yards)
Players Advanced: 0

Qualifying for Match Play: A 36-hole qualifying round to get into match play was conducted the Monday and Tuesday before the Championship. Byron Nelson was low qualifier with 138. A score of 149 qualified for match play and two players at 149 had a playoff for one spot. Some notable players who didn't make it to match play included Harry Cooper (150) and Olin Dutra (152). Sam Snead was unable to defend his title because he was in a naval hospital in San Diego, undergoing treatment for a recurrence of an old back injurly My. All matches played at 36 holes. Early Matches: In the first round all of the favorites won, with only two of the 16 matches making it to the final hole. Both of those matches required extra holes, as Tony Manero took 38 holes to beat Clayton Aleridge and Arthur Bell won a 37-hole match against Joe Zarhardt. In the second round, Byron Nelson breezed to a 7-and-6 victory over Mark Fry, and Harold McSpaden had the most impressive victory as he trashed Fred Annon, 8 and 7. The big upset of the day saw Willie Goggin beat Manero, 4 and 3, in a contest that was dominated from the very start by Goggin. In other matches, Art Bell upset Craig Wood, 2-and-1, and Sam Byrd was beaten by Charles Congdon by the same 2 and 1 margin. In the quarter-finals, the match of the day had Bob Hamilton upsetting the leading money-winner, McSpaden, 2 and 1. In a remarkable day of golf, Hamilton played more shots from the woods than on the fairways and played the 35 holes in 5-under-par. McSpaden also played well shooting 3-under-par for a losing cause. Nelson also had a good day of golf as he shot 66 in the morning round and went on to beat Willie Goggin, 4 and 3, while Ed Dudley fell victim to Charles Congdon in a 6-and-5 rout. In the semifinals, Nelson clobbered Charles Congdon, 8 and 7, in a match that saw Congdon only win two holes over the 29-hole contest. Nelson shot 67 in the morning round and went to lunch 7-up. For the day, Nelson was 5-under-par and 26-under for the 160 holes he played in the Championship. In the other match, Bob Hamilton beat George Schneiter, 1-up. The contest was square after the 32nd hole, with Hamilton making an eagle 3 to forge ahead. Both made pars the rest of the way, with Schneiter almost squaring the match on the final hole with a close chip shot that would have sent the match into overtime. In the finals, the 28-year-old Hamilton was a 10-1 long-shot but still went on to upset Nelson, 1-up. After the morning round the match was even as both players shot 70. In the afternoon round, Hamilton won the l9th hole with a birdie 3 and it was the first time in the Championship that Nelson had been down to an opponent. Nelson would never get the lead again. Hamilton got to 2-up when Nelson bogeyed the 29th hole, but Nelson birdied the next hole. Another birdie by Nelson at the 33rd hole squared the match, but Hamilton came back to win the next hole with a birdie. They halved the 35th hole with par and went to the final hole, which was a drive-able 300 yards. Nelson's drive landed in heavy grass short of the green, while Hamilton was just short of the green. Nelson pitched to within 10 feet of the hole, while Hamilton almost chipped it in, his ball stopping 20 inches away. Even though it was an exciting moment for Hamilton, Nelson forced him to earn the Championship by making his birdie putt. Hamilton quickly got over his putt and stroked it in, telling reporters afterwards, "I putted the last one as quick as possible. It was less than two feet, but the longer I looked, the longer the distance seemed,” Nelson was dejected afterwards, telling reporters, "four times in the Championship finals and I've won only one; maybe I should give up the game." Nelson had rightful cause to give up, as he shot 140, 4-under-par, and lost to Hamilton, who was 5-under-par. Over the course of the seven-day Championship, Nelson was 30-under-par for the 196 holes he played.

Road to the Finals
Bob Hamilton beatRoundByron Nelson beat
Mike Demassey,  5 and 4 Gene Kunes Sr.,  6 and 5 First Round
(18 Holes)
Mark Fry,  7 and 6 Harry Bassler,  6 and 5 Second Round
(18 Holes)
Willie Goggin,  4 and 3 Harold Mc Spaden,  2 and 1 Quarter Final
(36 Holes)
Charles Congdon,  8 and 7 George Schneiter,  1-up Semi Final
(36 Holes)
Mike Demassey     Nelson
5 and 4
Byron Nelson    
Neil Christian     Fry
2 and 1
Mark Fry    
Purvis Ferree     Goggin
8 and 7
Willie Goggin    
Clayton Aleridge     Manero
1-up (38)
Tony Manero    
Sam Byrd     Byrd
4 and 3
W.A. Stackhouse    
Charles Congdon     Congdon
7 and 6
Henry Williams Jr.    
Ed Dudley     Dudley
1-up (37)
Steve Savel    
Thurman Edwards     Hines
7 and 6
Jimmy Hines    
Bruce Coltart     Mc Spaden
7 and 5
Harold Mc Spaden    
Fred Annon     Annon
5 and 4
Harry Nettlebladt    
Bob Hamilton     Hamilton
6 and 5
Gene Kunes Sr.    
Harry Bassler     Bassler
6 and 5
Joe Mozel    
Arthur Bell     Bell
1-up (37)
Joe Zarhardt    
Jimmy D'Angelo     Wood
5 and 4
Craig Wood    
Morrie Gravatt     Penna
3 and 2
Toney Penna    
Ted Longworth     Schneiter
7 and 6
George Schneiter    
 
Nelson
7 and 6
 
 
Goggin
4 and 3
 
 
Congdon
2 and 1
 
 
Dudley
1-up (37)
 
 
Mc Spaden
8 and 7
 
 
Hamilton
6 and 5
 
 
Bell
3 and 2
 
 
Schneiter
4 and 3
 
Nelson
4 and 3
Congdon
6 and 5
Hamilton
2 and 1
Schneiter
2 and 1
 
Nelson
8 and 7
 
 
Hamilton
1-up
 
Hamilton
1-up