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Frank Stranahan Profile

 

Frank Stranahan, a k a the "Toledo Strongman," was avid about fitness and avid about amateur golf. He was arguably the greatest amateur of his era (1940s-1950s), but did eventually turn pro and play on the PGA Tour.

Full name: Frank Richard Stranahan

Date and place of birth: August 5, 1922 in Toledo, Ohio

Date and place of death: June 23, 2013, in West Palm Beach, Florida

Significant Wins
1945 Durham Open*
1946 Western Amateur
1946 North and South Amateur
1946 Kansas City Invitational*
1946 Fort Worth Invitational*
1947 Canadian Amateur
1948 British Amateur
1948 Canadian Amateur
1948 Miami Open*
1949 Western Amateur
1949 North and South Amateur
1950 British Amateur
1951 Western Amateur
1952 Western Amateur
1952 North and South Amateur
1955 Eastern Open*
1958 Los Angeles Open*

(*Stranahan's PGA Tour victories, the first four of which came while he was still an amateur.)

In the Majors
Frank Stranahan won two amateur majors, the 1948 and 1950 British Amateur Championships. He never won a professional major, but he came close and was often the low amateur. Stranahan was runner-up at the 1947 Masters, the 1947 British Open and 1953 British Open.

Notable Notes: Frank Stranahan was famous in his day as the best amateur in golf, a man who remained an amateur through his best years. He was able to resist the lure of professional money because he came from money, and his travels to play golf were bankrolled by his wealthy family.

Stranahan also was famous for his dedication to physical fitness and weightlifting - he was one of the first golfers to believe in strength training. His nickname was "the Toledo Strongman," or just "Muscles." He was a major influence on Gary Player's own dedication to fitness. Stranahan was also a competitive weightlifter, and after his retirement from tournament golf became an avid marathon runner.

Stranahan's wins at the British Amateur were by 5-and-4 over Charlie Stowe (1948) and 8-and-6 over Dick Chapman (1950). He never won the U.S. Amateur, his closest effort coming in 1950 when he lost on the 39th hole to Sam Urzetta.

Stranahan finally turned pro in his mid-30s and won twice on the PGA Tour. ... He played on the USA Walker Cup team in 1947, 1949 and 1951. ... Stranahan's father was the founder of the Champion Spark Plug company. ... In his late teens and early 20s, Stranahan's coach was Byron Nelson.

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Barbara Romack
Johnny Bulla

 

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