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Senior Tour player Jack Keifer dies aged 59

Veteran Jack Kiefer has died at the age of 59 after losing a 17-month battle with cancer.

Kiefer, who won the 1994 Ralphs Senior Classic and the 1997 du Maurier Champions, was diagnosed with cancer in the late spring of 1998 after he began experiencing back pain.

Kiefer, who lived in Stuart, Fla., won more than $3 million in his Senior Tour career. His most productive years were 1996 and 1997, when he finished 17th and 16th, respectively, on the money list.

Kiefer turned pro in 1967 and promptly won the Pennsylvania State Open, then added New Jersey State Opens in 1975, 1976 and 1983. The Pennsylvania native earned his Senior Tour playing privileges in 1990 after his runner-up finish to Simon Hobday in the qualifying tournament.

Kiefer went on to earn an "ironman" reputation by playing in 30 or more events in '91, '93, '94, '95, '96 and '97. He was able to play in just 12 events before his diagnosis in 1998.

Kiefer graduated from Millersville State College in 1961 and his knuckleball earned him a professional baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers. After just three days in the Tigers camp, though, he left baseball and took up the game of golf a short time later.