(Reuters) - American Frank Stranahan, a six-time PGA Tour winner who was also a world-ranked weightlifter, has died at the age of 90, the PGA Tour announced on Tuesday.
Stranahan, who enjoyed a stellar amateur career before turning professional in 1954 and making fitness a linchpin of his playing career, died on Sunday in the Hospice of Palm Beach County.
“He was a wonderful man, one of golf’s most accomplished amateurs and certainly one of the most interesting individuals to play the game,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
“Frank’s achievements are no doubt underappreciated today, including the fact that he was a remarkable all-around athlete. Frank was a noted powerlifter during this period and later, became an accomplished long-distance runner.
“We look at the athleticism of our players today and can say that Frank truly was well before his time when it came to golf and fitness.”
Ohio-born Stranahan, who was nicknamed “Muscles” and the “Toledo Strongman” during his golfing days, triumphed twice on the PGA Tour as an amateur, winning the 1945 Durham Open and the 1948 Miami Open.
He piled up more than 50 tournament victories in the amateur ranks, including two British amateur titles (1948 and 1950), two Canadian amateurs (1947 and 1948) and three North and South Amateur crowns (1946, 1949 and 1952).
Three times, Stranahan came close to landing a major title, finishing runner-up at the 1947 and 1953 British Opens and also at the 1947 Masters, where he ended up two strokes behind Jimmy Demaret.
At the 1947 British Open, he fell one stroke shy of forcing a playoff for the title with Fred Daly after his approach shot from 110 yards on the final hole stopped three inches short of the cup.
The son of a wealthy industrialist family in Ohio, where his father was the Champion Spark Plug founder, Stranahan went into business after retiring from professional golf and switched his athletic pursuits back to weightlifting and running marathons. He competed in 102 marathons.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue