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Bob Charles (golfer)

From Academic Kids

Sir Bob Charles KNZM CBE (born March 14, 1936) is one of the world’s greatest left handed golfers, winner of more than 70 titles and first lefty to win one of golf’s Majors.

Born in Carterton, a small town in the Wairarapa district on New Zealand’s North Island, Charles lived in Masterton where he worked as a bank teller and demonstrated great golfing potential.

He caused a sensation on November 8 1954 when as an 18 year old amateur he beat a top international field to win the New Zealand Open at Heretaunga.

The media was full of praise for this slight young man who equalled the open record of 280, and there were many predictions for an imminent venture in the professional ranks and a lucrative career.

Charles decided to hone his skills as an amateur first, and remained is his bank employment for a further six years, but all the while continued to show exceptional putting prowess which helped immensely later on the professional circuits. He represented New Zealand several times in international amateur tournaments during this period.

Contents

Joined the pro ranks

He turned professional in 1960 and the next year won the New Zealand PGA Championship and soon after ventured overseas to the European and North American circuits.

In 1962 he really came to notice when he won his first PGA TOUR event in the USA, the Shell Houston Open. His greatest moment came the next year when he won the British Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. After four rounds (68,72,66,71) his 277 was level with American Phil Rodgers. Demonstrating unerring putting, Charles won the 36-hole decider by eight shots.

Charles has won about 80 tournaments around the world, and has finished in the top five countless times. As well as his important PGA victories, his win in the 1969 World Matchplay Championship was considered one of his best. He was also thrilled when in 1993 he won the Senior British Open 30 years after winning his British Open title.

Seniors tour

His move to the PGA Senior Tour (now called Champions Tour) was very lucrative and successful with 23 titles and in three years 1988, 1989 and 1993 he recorded lowest scoring average.

Charles is a sporting hero in New Zealand, not only for his achievements but also for his demeanour and philanthropy regarding junior golfers. He was also a role model worldwide for left-handed golfers. Until Canadian Mike Weir won the US Masters title in 2003, Charles was the only golfer with a left-handed swing to have won a Major. Phil Mickelson became the third when he won the 2004 Masters.

Charles was created a Member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth in 1972 and was upgraded to a Commander in the said Order in 1992. He became Sir Bob Charles in 1999 when made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Charles married his wife Verity in 1962 and they have two children, Beverly (b1966) and David (b 1968). David is a golf director in the US. Charles is a successful golf course designer having had major input into the Formosa Country Club in North Shore City, Millbrook at the resort town of Queenstown, and the nine-hole course at Matarangi on the Coromandel Peninsula.

List of wins

Following is an incomplete list of tournaments won by Bob Charles over the years. PGA wins are indicated by (PGA), important international tournament wins by (Int) and Champions Tour by (Champions Tour).

  • 1954
    • New Zealand Open, as amateur
  • 1961
    • New Zealand PGA Championship
    • The Daks Golf Tournament [tie]
    • Bowmaker Tournament
    • Caltex Open
  • 1962
    • Caltex Open,
    • Swiss Open
  • 1963
  • 1965
    • Tucson Open Invitational (PGA)
  • 1966
    • New Zealand Open
    • Watties Open,
  • 1967
    • Atlanta Classic (PGA)
    • Caltex Open
  • 1968
  • 1969
  • 1970
    • New Zealand Open
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1974
    • Greater Greensboro Open (PGA)
    • Swiss Open
  • 1978
    • Air New Zealand Shell Open
    • 1979 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1983
    • Tallahassee Open
  • 1986
    • Mazda Championship, partnered by Amy Alcott, (Int)
  • 1987
    • Vintage Chrysler Invitational (Champions Tour)
    • GTE Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Sunwest-Charley Pride Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Mauna Lani Invitational (Int)
  • 1988
    • NYNEX/Golf Digest Commemorative (Champions Tour)
    • Sunwest-Charley Pride Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Rancho Murieta Senior Gold Rush (Champions Tour)
    • Vantage Bank One Senior Golf Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Pepsi Senior Challenge (Champions Tour)
    • Fuji Electric Grandslam (Int)
    • 1st National Bank Classic (Int)
  • 1989
    • GTE Suncoast Classic (Champions Tour)
    • NYNEX/Golf Digest Commemorative (Champions Tour)
    • Digital Seniors Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Sunwest-Charley Pride Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Fairfield-Barnett Space Coast Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Fuji Electric Grandslam (Int)
    • Senior British Open (Int)
  • 1990
    • Digital Seniors Classic (Champions Tour)
    • GTE Kaanapali Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Fuji Electric Grandslam (Int)
    • Kintetsu Home Senior (Int)
    • Daikyo Senior Invitational (Int)
  • 1991
    • GTE Suncoast Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Kintetsu Home Senior (Int)
  • 1992
    • Raileys Senior Gold Rush (Champions Tour)
    • Transamerica Senior Golf Championship (Champions Tour)
  • 1993
    • Senior British Open (Int)
    • Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Bell Atlantic Classic (Champions Tour)
    • Quicksilver Classic (Champions Tour)
  • 1995
    • Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic (Champions Tour)
  • 1996
    • Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic (Champions Tour)
  • 1998
    • Office Depot Father and Son Challenge, with son David (Int)

See also

Golfers with 20 Champions Tour wins

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