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Lema, Tony - "Champagne Tony"

Tony Lema rose to fame in the beginning of golf's modern era as a member of the big five of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Billy Casper and Lema.

On the eve of his first official PGA victory in October 1962 at the Orange County Open in Costa Mesa, California, Lema joked he would serve champagne to the press if he won the next day. From then on he was known as "Champagne Tony", and his handsome looks, and vivacious personality added to the legend, such that Johnny Miller stated that at the time of his death in 1966, Lema was second only to Arnold Palmer in fan popularity.

In 1964, Lema won the Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, California, the Thunderbird Classic, Buick Open, and Cleveland Open (in a playoff with Arnold Palmer) and then captured one of the major championships by taking that year's British Open at St Andrews, Scotland. In the matchup of the four major champions of 1964, Lema won $50,000 (then the largest payoff in golf) at Firestone Country Club over Arnold Palmer (Masters), Ken Venturi (U.S.Open), and Bobby Nichols (PGA).

In 1966, he was flying with his wife, Betty, to an exhibition match in Chicago, Illinois, when their chartered twin-engine Beechcraft Bonanza ran out of fuel and crashed on the seventh hole of a golf course in Lansing, Illinois. All four people on board were killed.

This 11" x 14" black and white historic photograph has a sepia tone and is available unframed or framed in a cherry finish with double matting and a gray parchment background and engraved brass title plate.Framed outside dimensions are 18" x 22".

Item: PGTL


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