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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

CHARLES 'SANDY' SOMERVILLE

Inducted in 1955

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 4, 1903
Place of Birth: London, Ontario
Date of Passing: May 17, 1991
Sport: Golf
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1926-1939

Six Canadian Amateur Golf Titles

1932

First Canadian to win U.S. Amateur Golf Title

Lionel Conacher Award

1938

Semifinalist, British Amateur Championships

1950

Golfer of the Half-Century, CP Press Poll

1957

President, Royal Canadian Golf Association

1960 - 1966

Four Canadian Senior Golf Association Titles

Honoured Member CHARLES 'SANDY' SOMERVILLE
Inspire

Story

Charles 'Sandy' Somerville was a man of few words, but his brilliant achievements speak for themselves. He dominated Canadian amateur golf throughout much of the 1920s and '30s and was the first Canadian to make to make a significant impact on the American amateur scene. Somerville was a brilliant all-'round athlete in his youth. He held the highest score for school cricket in Canada and played in the last international cricket match between Canada and the United States, in 1921. He was a brilliant halfback on the University of Toronto's football team, once drop-kicking six field goals in a single game, while his hockey skills attracted the notice of Conn Smythe of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was golf, however, that Somerville decided to take up seriously. Between 1919 and 1939, he entered the Canadian Amateur Golf Championships 18 times, winning his first title in 1926. He took the championships again in 1928, 1930, 1931, 1935, and 1937, and was runner-up on four occasions. In 1932, Somerville made history when he became the first Canadian to win the U.S. Amateur golf championship. Harold Hilton of England, who won the title in 1911, had previously been the only foreigner to break the American monopoly on the national title. Somerville nearly conquered Britain as well, going as far as the semi-finals of the British Amateur championships in 1938. All this he accomplished while building a successful career as a life insurance executive. Somerville retired from serious competition with the onset of the Second World War. He served as president of the Royal Canadian Golf Association in 1957 and then returned to the course in the 1960s to claim two Canadian Seniors Golf Association Championships, and share two additional titles. As the first Canadian to break into the world of American golf, Somerville received the Lionel Conacher Trophy as Canada's most outstanding male athlete in 1932. For his prowess on the course, he was voted Canada's top golfer of the half-century by the Canadian Press in 1950.


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