Flashback: The Kemper Open at Quail Hollow

Credit: Charlotte Observer

More than a quarter-century before the creation of what’s now the Wells Fargo Championship, Quail Hollow Club was part of the nomadic history of the Kemper Open.

Arnold Palmer, 1969 Kemper Open at Quail Hollow. Courtesy: Charlotte Observer

Quail Hollow, still establishing itself on the golf market, spent 11 years as Kemper host from 1969-79. The tournament actually got its start in the Boston area at Pleasant Valley Country Club, but lasted just one year there despite Arnold Palmer winning the inaugural edition.

Dale Douglass cruised to victory in the first Quail Hollow stop, and two years later Tom Weiskopf captured the first of his three wins in Charlotte. Doug Sanders, Raymond Floyd and Andy Bean were other prominent winners in the Quail Hollow years.

On the losing end of things, Lee Trevino lost two years in a row on walk off birdie putts. In 1971, Weiskopf won his maiden title at Quail Hollow by making an 8-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to beat Trevino, Gary Player, and Dale Douglass. The following year, Sanders rolled in a 30-foot bomb on the 72nd hole to edge Trevino by one shot.

In 1980, the Kemper relocated again, moving back north to begin a 27-year run in the Washington market. Kemper Insurance dropped its sponsorship after the 2002 edition, and the tournament itself was gone four years later amid an overhaul of the PGA Tour schedule.

Excerpted from The Starter


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