31st PGA Championship
A 36-hole qualifying round to get into match play was conducted the Wednesday and Thursday before the Championship. 1948 PGA Champion Ben Hogan was unable to defend his title because of an auto accident. Ray Hill was the low qualifier of 64 players with a 136. A score of 148 earned a match play berth, with six players at 149 having a playoff for three spots. Some notables who didn’t qualify included Vic Ghezzi (150), Toney Penna (150), Chick Harbert (151) and Ky Laffoon (151).
The first and second rounds were 18 holes each, played in one day, with the remaining matches being played at 36 holes.
The finals were played in front of a partisan crowd, and they all got their wish when Snead, a native Virginian, beat Palmer, 3 and 2. Snead had a tough time in the morning round, as he was 2-down after the front side. He regained the two to finish the round square. In the afternoon, it was a different story for Palmer, who won only one of the 16 holes, when Snead made a seven-footer for a birdie at the 22nd hole, an eight-footer at the 24th hole and another seven-footer at the 25th hole. Despite losing the 27th hole with a bogey, Snead went to the final nine 2-up. Palmer’s chance for a comeback got slimmer when both birdied the 28th hole. When Snead made an unanswered birdie at the 31st hole, nothing could stop him. The match ended three holes later, with Snead claiming his second PGA Championship and a winner’s check for $3,500.