Has an amateur ever won The Open? Paul Dunne in contention at St Andrews

Irishman Dunne a genuine challenger to the more established names

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Amateur Paul Dunne has been playing the golf of his life at St Andrews this week and heading into the fourth and final round on Monday, must be considered a genuine contender to lift the Claret Jug.

But would the 22-year-old from Ireland be the first amateur to ever do so?

The answer is no - three amateurs have won The Open in the 143 tournaments that have preceded the current one. However, there has been no non-professional winner since 1930.

The last to do it was American Bobby Jones - however his status as an amateur is misleading. Jones won the Open a total of three times amid 13 major victories and went on to co-found the Masters Tournament and help design Augusta National Golf Club. The previous amateur winner before Jones was Harold Hilton, with the Englishman winning it twice. The only other winner was John Ball, another Englishman and the first amateur winner back in 1890.


There has been an amateur winner at St Andrews just once, Jones' 1927 victory.

The Open Championship trophy

Since Jones' win in 1930, the best finishes by amateurs in the British Open are...

1935 - Lawson Little, tied for 4th

1947 - Frank Stranahan, tied for 2nd

1953 - Frank Stranahan, tied for 2nd

1957 - Willie Smith, tied for 5th

1959 - Reid Jack, tied for 5th

1998 - Justin Rose, tied for 4th

2008 - Chris Wood, tied for 5th

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