1950 PGA Champion Harper inducted into Va. Golf Hall of Fame
HOT SPRINGS, Va. -- Portsmouth's Chandler Harper and Virginia Beach native Curtis Strange were among six legends of Virginia golf inducted as part of the Inaugural Class of the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame Tuesday night at the Omni Homestead Resort.
Joining the two South Hampton Roads golfers were Vinny Giles, Clyde Luther, the late Sam Snead and Lanny Wadkins.
Strange, who won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989, was the PGA Tour's first million-dollar man, winning 17 PGA Tour events from 1979-88. He grew up in Virginia Beach, the son of a club pro, and went on to play in five Ryder Cups and captaining the 2002 team. He was ranked No. 6 in The Virginian-Pilot's Top 50 list of greatest South Hampton Roads athletes, compiled in 2008.
Harper, who claimed the 1950 PGA championship among his 11 PGA Tour victories, had a 70-year career in golf in Virginia as a player, teacher and ambassador of the sport. He mentored U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and co-founded Portsmouth's Bide-A-Wee Golf Club. He was rated the No. 21 all-time athlete from South Hampton Roads by The Virginian-Pilot.
The ceremony coincided with the launch of the virtual Virginia Golf Hall of Fame, which can be found online at virginiagolfhalloffame.com. The website features rooms and exhibits on all six inductees, as well as a nomination form for potential future Hall of Fame members.
Snead, one of the game's greats for four decades, Strange and Wadkins all are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. They're also in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, as are Giles and Harper. Harper also holds a spot in the PGA of America Hall of Fame.
Giles is renowned as one of the greatest amateurs to have ever played the game, and he's the only man in history to have won the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur championships.
The four living members of the Inaugural Class were present at Tuesday's ceremony, along with members of their families.
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