The LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) is in mourning today as former tour player Colleen Walker died Tuesday night from cancer. This was the 56-year-old’s second battle with cancer and according to the LPGA Tour she died in Valrico at her home. During her long career, she won numerous times and was an ambassador of the LPGA.
Colleen Walker played in the LPGA Tour from 1982-2004. Her 23-year career saw her acquiring victories both on and off the course as she strived to be the best that she could be. In 1992, Walker had a career-high three victories and in 1997, won her only major title in the Maurier Classic in Canada. She also won the Vare Trophy in 1998 for the lowest scoring average as well as finished a career-high fifth on the money list.
Unfortunately, she had a personal battle to deal with as in January of 2003; Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite this, she fought hard and was able to return to the tour in September of the same year. Sadly, late last year, the cancer returned but this time in her pelvis and her hips and spread throughout her body. As determined as she was, Walker lost this battle and died Tuesday evening.
Barb Mucha, a five-time LPGA winner, talked about Walker in an LPGA release as being a great ambassador and friend. “Colleen was not only a great ambassador for the LPGA and the game of golf, but more importantly was a true and faithful friend. From her caring smile, unselfish ways and deep devotion to her family, her life touched all those she knew. She will be dearly missed, but her love will live on forever in our hearts. I am blessed to have called her friend.”
Dawn Coe-Jones, a three-time LPGA Tour winner, also commented about how Walker was both on and off the golf course. “I will always remember Colleen for her fight and determination on the golf course. Off the golf course, I loved her sense of humor. I will miss walking the fairways with her as we watched our sons compete. Rest in peace, Colleen.”
In Jacksonville, Florida, Colleen Walker ultimately was inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1991. She also was inducted in the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Walker leaves behind her husband Ron Bakich and 16-year-old son Tyler Walker Bakich. Following in his mother’s footsteps, Tyler is a top junior golfer that ended up winning his age group in July the Florida State Golf Association Junior Match Play Championship.
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