During his short lifetime, Ben Bishop was probably the best amateur golfer in the area from the late 1940s into the 1960s. If he hadn't have passed away in 1970 at the age of 54, who knows how many more amateur titles he would have captured.
Not only did Bishop dominate the club championship at Moon Brook Country Club by winning it 12 times, but away from his home course he won the Chautauqua County Amateur six times.
Long before his golf feats in Chautauqua County, the Marysville, Ohio, native showed his athletic abilities in the Buckeye State.
As a sophomore on the College of Wooster track team in 1935, Bishop competed in the broad Jump, high jump, 120-yard high hurdles and 220-yard low hurdles. In five dual meets, he won the high hurdles and high jump twice the broad jump once.
As a junior, he set school records in the high hurdles. In his senior year, he set school records in the broad jump and the mile relay. He set those records at the Big Six Track Meet, in which he also won the high jump.
Bishop was also a member of the Wooster golf team.
His interest in golf began when he became a caddie near his Ohio hometown.
Bishop moved to Jamestown in 1938 and was a partner with his father-in-law, B.H. Ruland, in the accounting firm of Ruland and Bishop.
From 1942 through 1964, Bishop played in the Moon Brook club championship 19 times. He not only won it 12 times, but was also second three times.
It should be noted that he did not compete in 1945 and 1946 because of a wrist injury. He missed it again in 1952 because of a family illness and in 1959 he didn't compete at Moon Brook because he played in the Fred Waring Tournament at Shawnee-on-Delaware and was the medalist in qualifying with a 70. And in 1965 he didn't participate because a bad back prevented him from play 36 holes in one day.
It's no wonder why the Moon Brook club championship trophy was named the Ben Bishop Memorial Trophy in 1970.
Quite a few of Bishop's club championship wins wouldn't be called nail-biters. In 1943 he recorded a 10 and 9 victory and in 1944 he defeated his finals opponent, 6 and 5. In 1956 he had a 10 and 8 win, which included a round of 69 in the morning. In 1958, he won 9 and 8 and had 14 one-putt greens in 28 holes.
Bishop's last club title was in 1964 when he defeated Bill Dickson 1-up in an 18-hole match. A highlight was Bishop carding an eagle 2 at No. 6 after Dickson hit his approach shot to gimme range for a birdie.
Bishop had some other memorable rounds at Moon Brook.
In 1955, he played in an exhibition match with PGA Tour pro George Bayer. Bayer shot a 71 and Bishop a 73.
In 1959, Bishop shot a course record 66 at Moon Brook.
That same year, Bishop was the only amateur in an exhibition at Moon Brook with 1958 Masters champion Arnold Palmer, 1959 Masters champion Art Wall and Moon Brook pro Toby Lyons. Bishop shot a 1-under 70 while Wall shot 69 and Arnold Palmer 68.
Away from Moon Brook, Bishop won the Chautauqua County Amateur four times and finished second six times from 1949 through 1963. Three of his second-place finishes were playoff losses.
He was also third once, fourth three times and fifth once.
And with all that success on the course, Bishop rarely practiced.
Ben Bishop died in 1970. He was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
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