Hawkins, second in '58 Masters, dies at 91
December 09, 2014
By Laury Livsey, PGATOUR.COM
- December 09, 2014
- Fred Hawkins (center) with Doug Ford and Ed Furgol at the 1957 Ryder Cup. (Getty Images)
Fred Hawkins, a PGA TOUR veteran who won one PGA TOUR title but whose most memorable performances may have been an 18-hole playoff loss to Ben Hogan at the 1959 Colonial National Invitation and a tie for second at the 1958 Masters Tournament, died Dec. 6 in Sebring, Fla. He was 91.
Hawkins, a native of Antioch, Ill., turned professional in 1946 after attending college at both the University of Illinois and Texas Western (now the University of Texas-El Paso). He played the PGA TOUR sparingly in 1947 then joined the circuit full time in 1948. Hawkins made his TOUR debut at the 1947 Reno Open, tying for 19th.
Hawkins won one official event -- the 1956 Oklahoma City Open, defeating Gardner Dickinson by two shots. Hawkins finished fourth on the money list that year, with winnings of $24,805. His best earnings’ season came in 1963 when he pocketed $25,294. Hawkins tasted disappointment often during his TOUR career, finishing as a runner-up 18 times -- with four of those second-place efforts coming in 1958. None were more excruciating than his close call at that year’s Masters Tournament.
Hawkins shot a third-round 68 at Augusta National Golf Club, tying him for low-score-of-the-day honors, leaving him tied for eighth, three strokes behind Arnold Palmer with 18 holes to play. Hawkins fired a 1-under 71 on the final day to Palmer’s 73 but still fell a stroke short of Palmer, tying with Doug Ford for second. In his playoff loss to Hogan at Colonial, Hawkins was seven shots behind Hogan at the halfway mark and four strokes behind 54-hole leader Ted Kroll. Hawkins shot a 1-over 71 on the final day, finishing regulation tied with Hogan. The two played off the next day, with Hogan outdueling Hawkins by shooting a 69 to Hawkins’ 73.
Hawkins also enjoyed victory at the 1950 Cavalier Specialists Tournament, an unofficial 54-hole PGA TOUR tournament in Virginia. He edged Clayton Heafner by two strokes. Hawkins also captured the 1958 Jackson Open Invitational, a 36-hole, unofficial TOUR event in Mississippi. He defeated Byron Nelson, Bob Toski and Mike Krak by two shots. Three years later, he added the New Mexico Open title to his resume, defeating amateur Chris Blocker by four strokes in Las Cruces. As his TOUR career wound down, he accepted the job as the head professional at Olympia Fields Country Club outside Chicago, a job he held from 1968 to 1972.
Upon creation of the Champions Tour in 1980, Hawkins played the 50-and-over circuit full time until 1991. His best finishes were a pair of third-place performances -- at the 1983 Merrill Lynch Golf Digest Pro-Am and the 1984 Gatlin Brothers Classic. He made his final Champions Tour appearance in 2010, playing in the Demaret Division of the Legends of Golf with partner Billy Casper in Savannah, Ga.
Hawkins is survived by his wife of 35 years, Nancy. Also surviving him are two sons, Tom Hawkins and Joe Hawkins; three stepsons, Bill Craig, Mike Craig and Dan Barth; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
There will be no funeral, and by request he will be cremated.