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Winner of first ever LPGA event dies

Polly Riley, the amateur golfer who won the LPGA Tour's first sanctioned event in 1950 and competed in the Curtis Cup six times, has died of cancer.

Riley died Wednesday at her home. She was 75.

Riley won the 1950 Tampa Open, beating Louise Suggs by five strokes in the LPGA Tour's first event.

``Polly helped put Fort Worth golf on the map,'' author Dan Jenkins said in a story for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. ``In terms of grabbing national headlines, Polly was the next biggest thing we had going, behind Ben (Hogan) and Byron (Nelson).''

Riley finished second in the 1947 U.S. Women's Open. In 1948, she gave Babe Didrickson Zaharias the most lopsided defeat of Zaharias' career. Riley clinched the 36-hole, match-play final of the Texas Women's Open when she took a 10-hole lead over the Zaharias with only nine left to play.

Riley, who captained the 1962 U.S. Curtis Cup team, maintained her amateur status throughout her career. She is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Riley is survived by two brothers, Jack Riley and Bill Riley of Fort Worth, and a sister, Jane Balovich of Paradise, Calif.

Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Greenwood Funeral Home.


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