We are sad to report that former PGA Tour Golfer Ernie Gonzalez passed away on May 15, 2020.
Gonzalez turned pro in 1983, and earned his first and only PGA Tour win at the Pensacola Open in 1986.
He was just the third lefthanded golfer to ever win a tour event, and is still one of only thirteen to do so.
He was just 59 years old when he died from complications of Alzheimer's Disease.
All Lefthanded Golfers With PGA Tour Wins
The Success and The Failures of Lefthanders in Sports
Russ Cochran became the fifth lefthanded golfer to earn a PGA tour victory when he won the Centel Western Open in July 1991. Cochran had been on tour almost ten years before his only victory. He played in 599 tour events and did have eight second-place and four third-place finishes. Cochran has won five more tournaments and earned more than ten million dollars on the Seniors Tour.
Steve Flesch became the seventh lefthanded golfer to earn a PGA tour victory when he won the HP Classic of New Orleans in May 2003. Flesch has played in 464 PGA tour events with four victories, three second-place and five third-place finishes to his credit. He began playing on the seniors tour in 2017 and has one victory and two more third-place finishes there.
Eric Axley became the eighth lefthanded golfer to win a PGA tour event when he won the Valero Texas Open in September 2006. Axley tied for ninth in the 2008 US Open and has not had much success since, but he does still plays on the on the PGA tour and the secondary tour.
Ted Potter, Jr. became the tenth lefthanded golfer to win a PGA tour event when he won the Greenbrier Classic in July 2012. He struggled for the next six years, then earned his second win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in Feb 2018. Potter, Jr. is playing regularly on the tour in 2020.
Brian Harman became the eleventh lefthanded golfer to win a PGA tour event when he won the John Deere Classic in July 2014. He earned his second career win at the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2017, a month before he tied for second at the U.S. Open. In addition to his two victories and one second-place finish, he has finished third six times. In August 2015, Harman became the third player in PGA tour history (and the first lefthander) with two aces in the same round.
Greg Chalmers became the twelveth lefthanded golfer to win a PGA tour event when he won the Barracuda Championship in July 2016. He had played in nearly four-hundred PGA events since 1998 and also has two second place finishes besides his lone victory. Chalmers is from Australia and he has five international victories to his credit, including the Australian PGA Championship in 2011 and 2014.
Cody Gribble became the thirteenth lefthanded golfer to win a PGA tour event when he won the Sanderson Farms Championship in October 2017. He has played regularly on the tour through 2018-2019 but has little success besides that one victory.
Lefthanded Golfers have won a total of 84 PGA Tournaments since Bob Charles first won his first event at the Houston Classic in April 1963.
Bob Charles (6), Mike Weir (8), Bubba Watson (12) and Phil Mickelson (44) have 70 of those wins.
The other 14 are credited as follows: Steve Flesch (4), Ted Potter Jr. (2), Brian Harman (2), and Sam Adams, Ernie Gonzalez, Russ Cochran, Eric Axley, Greg Chalmers, and Cody Gribble with 1 each.
Sam Adams became the second lefthanded golfer to earn a PGA tour victory when he won the Quad Cities Open in September 1973. Adams finished in the top ten six times from 1972 through 1975, but never had another victory and disappeared from the scene by the end of the 1970’s.
Ernie Gonzalez became the third lefthanded golfer to earn a PGA tour victory when he won the Pensacola Open in October 1986. Gonzalez also had a third place finish and one more finish in the top ten that year, which was his best year, and he never came close to that success again.