The 2019 Open Championship may be setting Portrush on the arena stage however greater than 60 years in the past a diminutive golfer with a large coronary heart had already carried out simply that.
Fred Daly changed into born and bred in the County Antrim city but regardless of dwelling simply a couple of par fours from the course in which he’d fall in love with the sport, his destiny in it changed into some distance from sure.
Today a blue plaque ornaments a wall in Causeway Street, celebrating the region wherein the seaside resort’s maximum famous wearing son changed into born.
It turned into from this terraced property that the youngest of six children might walk to the golfing direction and complement the family income by using caddying across the Dunluce hyperlinks wherein modern day superstars will try and reap what he did in 1947.
Hooked on the sport
While the caddying coins got here in handy, his blacksmith father Daniel desired his son to study a change however Fred’s head was turned by using golfing’s unsolvable enigma and in 1931 he took a process as an inexperienced keeper and component-time professional at Mahee Island Golf Club in County Down.
As the toddler of a big family, Daly turned into used to combating his nook and tough graft soon stuffed out his frame, turning him from bantamweight to middleweight.
By the time he grew to become up at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July 1947, he becomes already acknowledged for his power and accuracy, with mythical American golfer Sam Snead once saying, “he could knock your hat off with one iron at 220 yards”.
A yr earlier than his best hour, Daly had clinched his first massive expert win in retaining off South African megastar Bobby Locke to land the Irish Open at Portmarnock but with the likes of Henry Cotton inside the subject at Hoylake, few eyes were centered on a stocky wee Irishman.
Sleeping on history
Few that changed into until Daly took a four-shot lead at the midway mark.
With the final rounds to be played on the same day, Portrush’s finest slept fitfully on his lead, now not bold to dream of golfing immortality.
A scrappy 78 within the 1/3 spherical positioned him into a 4-manner tie with Arthur Lees, Norman Von Nida and maximum ominously Cotton – the Champion Golfer in 1934 and 1937.
The “gentlemen of the press” have been poised to hand England’s best proponent of the sport his 1/3 title, but Daly’s best asset become a will each bit as strong because of the metal is solid through his blacksmith father.
A blustery day blew Cotton off course and by the point, Daly birdied the last hollow simplest one guy could capture him – self-assured American Frank Stranahan.
Stranahan, a newbie on the time, became also the top-ranked powerlifter in his elegance however elevating the 5.4lbs Claret Jug proved past him.
Daly changed into the champion, his legend cemented.
On being presented with the trophy in front of a rapturous crowd, he stated: “It is a brilliant honor to take this cup to Ireland with me. It has by no means been there earlier than and I wish the trade of air will help it.”