Sherri Turner: Long LPGA Career, One Great Year

Sherri Turner, born October 4, 1956, in Greenville, South Carolina, played on the LPGA Tour from the early 1980s into the 2000s. Her long career produced only three victories. But Turner did have one big year in which she not only won a major championship, but some Player of the Year awards, too.

Her LPGA Tour Wins

Sherri Turner had three wins on the LPGA Tour: She also had three wins on the Legends Tour, the LPGA's senior tour: 2008 BJ's Charity Championship (partnered by Cindy Figg-Currier), 2012 Hannaford Community Challenge, 2013 Swing for the Cure with Legends of the LPGA.

In the Majors

Turner's first win on the LPGA was also her biggest: the 1988 Mazda LPGA Championship. (That is the women's major that today is named the Women's PGA Championship.)

Turner was only in 10th place when she teed her off her final round. She trailed the leader, LPGA star and future Hall of Famer Amy Alcott, by six strokes. But Turner steadily made up ground on Alcott. When Turner birdied her final two holes, she posted a score of 67. The final round was a grind for Alcott, who came in with a 74 and couldn't match Turner's 281 total. Turner thus had her first win, a major championship victory, by one stroke.

Turner had nine Top 10 finishes in majors over her career, and five of those were Top 4 finishes (including the victory). She was runner-up in the 1999 U.S. Women's Open, although five strokes behind the wire-to-wire winner, Juli Inkster.

Turner also notched solo third in the 1988 du Maurier Classic, and tied third in the 1995 Nabisco Dinah Shore. And she tied for fourth place in the 2001 U.S. Women's Open. Her other Top 10s were tied eighth in the 1986 du Maurier, tied eighth in the 1989 LPGA Championship, tied ninth in the 1990 U.S. Women's Open, and tied ninth in the 1999 du Maurier.

More About Sherri Turner

It took Sherri Turner a few years to get her LPGA Tour career started, but once she did she played 25 seasons on the tour. Many of those years were solid, some were struggles. But one was a huge success.

In 1988, her fifth year as an LPGA Tour member, Turner earned her first win by birdieing the last two holes of a major at the LPGA Championship. She won again the very next week at the LPGA Corning Classic.

Turner's two runner-up finishes that year both involved playoffs. At the 1988 Sara Lee Classic, she scored a hole-in-one on the 71st hole to get into a four-way playoff, eventually won by Patti Rizzo. At the Lady Keystone Open, Shirley Furlong won the playoff over Turner.

Turner finished the 1988 LPGA Tour season with two wins, two seconds, two thirds and 17 Top 10 finishes. She led the tour in money. The Golf Writers of America, Golf World, Golf Magazine, and Golf Illustrated all named Turner the LPGA Player of the Year in 1988, although the tour's own award went to Nancy Lopez (who had three wins but no majors).

Early in 1989, Turner notched career win No. 3 at the Hawaiian Ladies Open. At the time, some golf media members were starting to refer to Turner as one of the tour's best players. But she never won again.

Turner began playing golf when she was five years old, growing up in South Carolina. At age 15, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, but didn't let that slow her down (although throughout her golf career Turner carried a vial of insulin and a blood sugar monitor in her golf bag). She won the Carolinas Junior Championship in both 1974 and 1975, at age 17 and 18, respectively, and add the South Carolina High School Championship.

She played college golf at Furman University and was part of the school's 1976 national championship squad that also included future LPGA legends and Hall-of-Famers Betsy King and Beth Daniel. Turner was named a first-team All-American her senior season, 1979, when she won three tournaments.

Turner turned pro after graduating in 1979 and started making annual attempts at LPGA Q-School. She failed to earn her tour card the first four tries. But on her fifth attempt, Turner won LPGA membership.

And in her very first start as an LPGA Tour member, at the 1984 Elizabeth Arden Classic, Turner finished second. That remained her best showing until 1988, but Turner was solid in her early seasons: She finished 38th, 38th and 41st on the money list in 1984, 1985 and 1986, respectively.

In 1987, Turner made a jump. She had no wins and no seconds, but finished third three times and 20th on the season-ending money list.

And that set up her big 1988 season. Turner followed it with another good year in 1989, winning in Hawaii, with one second (to college teammate Daniel at the Greater Washington Open), one third, and nine Top 10s. She finished 10th on the money list.

Turner fell to 30th on money list in 1990 and was never in the Top 30 in money again except for 28th place in 1999, the year of her last runner-up finish (in the U.S. Women's Open).

Her time near the top was fleeting, but her LPGA Tour career sure wasn't. Turner played 20 or more tournaments all but two years from 1984 through 2003. She underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in 2004 but came back to play several more years.

Along the way, Turner won the tour's William and Mousie Powell Award (voted on by players) in 1997, given to someone "whose behavior and deeds best exemplifies the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA." She also served on the LPGA Executive Committee in 1997-99.

In 1998, she became the second golfer in LPGA history (after Dawn Coe-Jones) to record a second double eagle during LPGA tournament play. Turner made her first double eagle in 1993 in the Atlanta Women's Championship, and made her second in 1998 in the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship. Those two events were actually the same tournament played on the same golf course both years, just under two different names. Both albatrosses happened on the par-5, 18th hole at Eagles Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Georgia.

Turner's final appearance in an LPGA Tour tournament was in 2008, and she went out on a high note, tying for 11th place in the Navistar LPGA Classic. She retired at age 52 after 25 years on the LPGA Tour.

Turner went on to record three wins on the LPGA's senior circuit, the Legends Tour. She also was a member of the Legends Tour Board from 2013-2015.

Sherri Turner is a member of the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame, the Furman University Athletics Hall of Fame, and the Legends Hall of Fame.

Carolinas PGA. "Schaal and Turner Chosen for South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame,"
Furman University. "2023-24 Women's Golf Record Book,"
Kearney, Mark, and Ray, Randy. Pucks, Pablum and Pingos: More Fascinating Facts and Quirky Quizzes, 2004, Dundurn Press
Ladies Professional Golf Association. 2005 LPGA Tour Media Guide, "Sherri Turner"
Legends Tour. "Sherri Turner," "Sherri Turner,"
United States Golf Association. "Official Record Book 1895-1900," 1992, Triumph Books

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