Golf

Australian great Nagle dies

2015-01-29 12:29
Kel Nagle (Twitter)

Sydney - Australian golfing great and British Open winner Kel Nagle died on Thursday at the age of 94, his family said.

Nagle won the Open in 1960 at the age of 39, beating Arnold Palmer by one stroke at the centenary event at St Andrews.

It was his only major victory, but Nagle, who was born on December 21, 1920, won 80 professional tournaments worldwide, including at least one every year between 1949 and 1975.

He is one of four Australians to have won the British Open, along with five-time champion Peter Thomson, dual winner Greg Norman and Ian Baker-Finch.

Nagle lost a playoff to Gary Player in the 1965 US Open and finished in the top five at the British Open six times between 1960 and 1966, including as runner-up to Palmer in 1962.

He twice won the Canada Cup (later World Cup) with his great friend Thomson and lifted the Australian PGA Championship six times.

Nagle remains the oldest winner on the Australasian tour. He was 54 when he won his seventh New Zealand PGA and his 61 victories on the tour are almost double that of second-placed Peter Thomson, who had 34.

When he became the fifth Australian inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007 Thomson paid tribute in a speech saying he had never known Nagle to drink, smoke, or say a bad word about anyone.

"Of all the people I have ever met in the world of golf, this fellow is the finest," Thomson said.

Nagle died at a Sydney hospital in the early hours of Thursday, a family statement said.

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