Bonnie Bryant, LPGA's First Left-Handed Winner

Bonnie Bryant won only one time on the LPGA Tour. But that single victory will keep her in the tour's record book forever: She was the first left-hander in LPGA history to win a tour event.

Date of birth: October 5, 1943

Place of birth: Tulare, California

LPGA wins: (1) 1974 Bill Branch LPGA Classic

Lefty Breakthrough and More About Bonnie Bryant

There had been very few left-handed golfers in any LPGA tournaments before Bonnie Bryant arrived on tour, and for most of the years of her career she was the only one. None had ever won.

Until Bonnie Bryant won the 1974 Bill Branch LPGA Classic in North Fort Myers, Florida. After carding back-to-back 71s in the first and second rounds, Bryant shot the lowest score of her career, a 67, in the final round. She won by three strokes over a quartet of runners-up (Hollis Stacy, Shelley Hamlin, Jane Blalock, Maria Astrologes).

The year 1974 was her best in other ways, too. She had her highest finish on the money list, 22nd. And Bryant also had her best finishes in majors that year: a tie for 10th in the LPGA Championship (now called the Women's PGA Championship) and a tie for 14th at the U.S. Women's Open.

Bryant's first sport growing up had been softball, and before she took up golf she played five years of semi-pro softball. In 1963, at the age 20, Bryant tried golf for the first time. In two years, she was a 5-handicapper and playing in local amateur tournaments.

She joined the LPGA Tour in 1971, and her tour career lasted through 1983, after which a lingering knee issue finally ended her tour days. Following her victory, Bryant suffered various injuries and illnesses over the next several years and was not able to consolidate those 1974 successes. She did post several other Top 10s, including losing in a playoff (won by Nancy Lopez) at the 1979 Coca-Cola Classic.

Following the end of her tournament life, Bryant became a golf instructor — a job she continued in into her 70s. It began at Bobick's Driving Range in Kalamazoo, Mich., a city that became her base thereafter.

From 1994 on, Bryant has been head instructor for Golf Services in Kalamazoo, while spending winters as instructor at Sunnybreeze Golf Course near Punta Gorda, Florida.

Through the year 2020, Bryant remains the only left-handed winner in LPGA Tour history.

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