COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Dow Finsterwald, who won the 1958 PGA Championship when the major golf tournament switched from match play to stroke play, died Friday. He was 93.
The elder Finsterwald won 12 times on the PGA Tour from 1955 to 1963.
He was born Sept. 26, 1929, in Athens, Ohio, and attended Ohio University, according to the news organization.
Finsterwald lost the 1957 PGA Championship 2 and 1 to Lionel Hebert. In 1958, the tournament’s format switched to stroke play, and Finsterwald won the PGA Championship at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pennsylvania, according to the Golf Channel.
He defeated Billy Casper by two strokes and was named the PGA Player of the Year in 1958, the news outlet reported.
A contemporary of Arnold Palmer, one of Finsterwald’s earliest college matches came against the golf Hall of Famer when Palmer starred at Wake Forest University, according to the AP. The pair became close friends until Palmer’s death in 2016; Finsterwald spent his winters at Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
Finsterwald played on four U.S. Ryder Cup teams (1957, ‘59, ‘61 and ‘63) and was the non-playing captain of the winning 1977 squad, according to the Golf Channel. He also won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour in 1957.
For nearly 30 years beginning in 1963, Finsterwald was the director of golf at The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, the Denver Post reported. He was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, according to the newspaper. Finsterwald also was inducted into the Ohio Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Dow and Linda Finsterwald Sport Management Scholarship is awarded at Ohio University.
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