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Ed Furgol, ’54 U.S. Open winner

March 11, 1997

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (AP) _ Friends remember Ed Furgol as a man who persevered, and the proof was in his 1954 U.S. Open golf championship.

Furgol, who became a professional golfer despite a broken left arm that withered after surgery as a youth, was buried Monday near his home here. He died Thursday after a brief illness at age 79.

``He was one of a kind,″ said Tom Pelnik, a friend who golfed with Furgol while growing up together in New York Mills, just outside Utica, N.Y. ``Here was a guy who couldn’t bend his arm, and what he achieved.″

Furgol underwent heart-bypass surgery last year and was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago, said Johnny LaPonzina, a longtime friend and manager of the Miami Shores Golf Club.

From 1944 to 1983, Furgol had five PGA victories and six second-place finishes. He was the 1954 PGA Golfer of the Year and a member of the 1957 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Furgol’s story is all the more remarkable because at the age of 12 he shattered his left elbow in a playground fall. It never healed properly, leaving him with a crooked, cocked arm 10 inches shorter than his right.

In 1954, Furgol was working as a club pro when he qualified for the U.S. Open, held that year Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. The 37-year-old golfer played nearly flawless golf for a one-stroke victory that earned him $6,000.

That earned Furgol an appearance on the ``Ed Sullivan ′

Furgol is survived by his wife of 53 years, Helen, who in Miami Shores, and several nieces and nephews.

He was entombed at Southern Memorial Park.