Ernie Gonzalez, winner of 1986 Pensacola Open, dies at 59

National Sports

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Ernie Gonzalez, who spent four years on the PGA Tour and won the rain-shortened Pensacola Open in 1986, has died. He was 59.

The PGA Tour said he died Friday in a Chicago hospital of Alzheimer’s.

Gonzalez played 119 events over a four-year span from 1985 through 1988, when he finished 207th on the money list. The Californian’s lone victory was in 1986 when he made five birdies and an eagle over his final nine holes of the second round for a 63 and a one-shot lead. But the 36-hole final because of rain was wiped out, and Gonzales was the winner.

His largest payoff was $48,000 for a tie for third in the Vantage Championship, two weeks after his victory in Pensacola. That tournament was cut to 54 holes because of bad weather.

Gonzalez played at least one PGA Tour event every year through 2003. He also worked at a beverage distributorship in Las Vegas. His lone PGA Tour Champions event after turning 50 was the Senior British Open in 2011. He missed the cut.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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