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Berg, LPGA Tour founder and star, dies at 88

Wire services

Patty Berg, the golf pioneer who won an LPGA Tour-record 15 major titles and was one of the 13 founding members of the tour in 1950, died Sunday. She was 88.

She died at Hope Hospice in Fort Myers, Fla., of complications from Alzheimer's disease, the LPGA Tour said.

Berg was the LPGA Tour's first president from 1950-52 and was the tour's money leader in 1954, '55 and '57. She ended her career with 60 victories and is a member of the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame.

"Patty was a wonderfully talented woman who was dedicated to golf, to growing the game and to making the sport fun for golfers of all ages," LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said. "She was a pioneer, an athlete, a mentor, a friend and an entertainer. She had a sense of humor that sparked a smile in all who met her."

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Berg won the 1938 U.S. Women's Amateur and swept the 1937-39 Titleholders as an amateur for her first three major victories. After turning pro, she won the 1946 U.S. Women's Open, four more Titleholders and was a seven-time winner of the Women's Western Open.

"As a founder of the LPGA, Patty took the LPGA to new heights, and it was the work, passion and dedication that she and her fellow co-founders exhibited that has allowed the LPGA to grow and prosper for so many years," Bivens said. "I, along with the entire LPGA family, mourn Patty's passing, but we will forever celebrate her legacy."

Berg was The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1938, '43 and '55. She was a top all-around athlete before turning to golf in her teens. She even quarterbacked a sandlot football squad called the "50th Street Tigers" that featured former Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson, a neighbor and longtime friend. Berg served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.

PGA Tour

Jim Furyk patiently worked his way to the top of the crowded leaderboard Sunday in the Canadian Open, closing with a 5-under 65 in cool and windy conditions for a one-stroke victory over Bart Bryant in Ancaster, Ontario

Set to make his fifth U.S. Ryder Cup appearance in less than two weeks, Furyk finished with a 14-under 266 total on the rain-softened Hamilton Golf and Country Club course. He earned $900,000 for his second victory of the year and 12th overall.

Furyk, who followed an opening 63 with rounds of 71 and 67 to begin the day two strokes behind Justin Rose at 9 under, made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 10th for a share of the lead at 12 under with Jonathan Byrd.

The 36-year-old star just missed 15-foot birdie putts on the next two holes before holing a 12-footer on the long par-3 13th to take a two-stroke lead.

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After Bryant and Sean O'Hair pulled within a stroke, Furyk two-putted for birdie on the par-5 17th to push the lead back to two and finished with a 5-foot par putt on 18.

O'Hair shot a 68 finish third at 12 under. Brett Quigley (68) was another stroke back and Rory Sabbatini (66), Camilo Villegas (68) and Steve Lowery (69), Byrd (70), Trevor Immelman (70) followed at 10 under.

LPGA Tour

Cristie Kerr rallied from a two-shot deficit in the final eight holes to beat Annika Sorenstam by two shots and win the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Broken Arrow, Okla.

The 28-year-old Kerr shot a final-round 3-under 68 to finish the three-round tournament at 14-under 199, the lowest score since the event moved to Cedar Ridge Country Club in suburban Tulsa in 2004.

Sorenstam, who finished 12 under, had won the event the last two years as well as in 2002, when it was played at Tulsa Country Club. She shot a 2-under 69 in the final round.

Kerr's 38-foot birdie putt into the center of the hole on the par-3 15th gave her the lead and she sealed her victory with a 18-footer for birdie on one of the 6,602-yard course's toughest holes, the par-4, 422-yard 17th.

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