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What Happened to Byron Nelsonís Tee Shot on the 70th Hole at the Hershey Open?

Byron Nelson

It was September 1939 and Reading Country Club professional Byron Nelson was playing in the 72-hole Hershey Open. Late in the final round Nelson was in contention needing to play the last three holes in one under par to tie Scranton Country Clubís professional Felix Serafin for the top prize. On the 70th hole Nelsonís tee shot was just off the fairway but could not be found. He returned to the tee and with a two stroke penalty for the lost ball made a double bogey. Serafin won with a total of 284. Ben Hogan and Jimmie Hines tied for second at 286 and Nelson finished fourth at 287. Serafinís victory was worth $1,250. Hogan and Hines each won $650.

Here is the rest of the story. A man who had attended the tournament with a lady friend was on a train returning to New York. Sometime during the return trip the lady reached into her handbag and produced a golf ball. The man knew right away that it was Nelsonís golf ball. He sent a letter to Nelson explaining what had happened and enclosed a check for the difference between what he won and the amount that he would have won if he had finished alone in second place at 285.

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