Biography of LPGA Golfer Sandra Spuzich, Major Winner

Sandra Spuzich won golf tournaments on the LPGA Tour from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s. While she didn't win a lot of them, Spuzich did win the biggest of all: the U.S. Women's Open.

Full name: Sandra Ann Spuzich

Nickname: Sandy or Spooz

Date and place of birth: April 3, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Date and place of death: October 6, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana

LPGA Tour Wins for Sandra Spuzich

Spuzich is credited with seven wins on the LPGA Tour: In 1966, Spuzich also partnered PGA Tour player Jack Rule Jr. to win the tournament that eventually became known as the JCPenney Classic. Then called the Haig & Haig Scotch Foursome, it was a team tournament in which PGA and LPGA tour pros partnered one another.

Her First Win: U.S. Women's Open

Four years after turning pro, Spuzich earned her first LPGA Tour victory by winning the biggest event, the 1966 U.S. Women's Open. And she earned it, holding off defending champ Carol Mann plus Mickey Wright, two giants in the game at the time, in the final round.

Spuzich — called "a nerveless, unheralded pro" by the Associated Press reporter on the scene — birdied three of the final five holes. She finished one ahead of Mann, two strokes ahead of third-place Wright. She was 29 years old at the time.

This tournament was notable for another reason. It wasn't just Spuzich's debut victory, it was also the first major championship played at Hazeltine National Golf Club, a course that continues hosting majors and Ryder Cups today.

More About Sandra Spuzich

Before she chose to pursue golf full-time, the young Spuzich was a champion bowler. She took up golf at age 16, under the tutelage of her father. (She eventually worked with some of the greatest names in the history of golf instruction: Tommy Armour, Johnny Revolta, Manuel de la Torre, Harvey Penick.)

Spuzich attended the University of Indiana and graduated with a B.S. in Physical Education in 1959. In 1960, she earned her first notable win on the golf course, becoming Indianapolis city champ.

She also was a runner-up three times in the Indiana State Amateur Championship. That didn't make for the greatest golf resumé the pro tours had ever seen, but in 1962 Spuzich turned pro.

She got into one LPGA tournament that year and finished 15th. But from 1963 on, Spuzich played full seasons into the 1990s. From 1964 through 1970, she finished in the Top 20 on the money list every year (and did so ago several times after).

Win No. 1 was her U.S. Open victory in 1966. And while she wasn't a prolific winner, Spuzich added victories in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

In addition to her major victory, she tied for second at the 1970 U.S. Women's Open, one behind winner Donna Caponi. She was fourth at the 1968 LPGA Championship and also had top 10 finishes in the Titleholders Championship and Du Maurier Classic when they were both majors.

In 1982, when Spuzich was 45, she had her only multiple-win season with two victories. At the time, that made her the oldest golfer in LPGA history to win twice in the same season.

For many years in her native Indianapolis, Spuzich hosted the Sophie Goecker Memorial Tournament in honor of her younger sister, who died of complications from lupus at age 30. The event benefited the Indiana Arthritis Foundation.

Spuzich was 5-foot-6 with brown hair and brown eyes. LPGA Media Guides of the 1970s and '80s often pointed out that she was one of the most popular players on tour with her fellow competitors. She preferred to warm up before a round by swinging a weighted club, rarely hitting any golf balls on the range before a round.

Married Two Months Before Her Death

Spuzich and fellow LPGA Tour player Joyce Kazmierski had a 50-year relationaship that, for almost all of their time together, they felt they had to keep secret from the public.

By 2015, after a Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex married in the United States, they could finally get married. Spuzich, 78 at the time and suffering from leukemia, and Kazmierski were married on the front porch of their home in Indianapolis on Aug. 22, 2015.

Two months later, Spuzich died.

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