The Norman Transcript

Sports

June 26, 2013

Koepka gets major upgrade in Europe

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Of course, it’s the story that makes the coat.

It belonged to Frank Stranahan, the amateur great who died Sunday at age 90. Of their many practice rounds, one that stands out was Palmer and Dow Finsterwald against Stranahan and Al Besselink in 1957.

“We played 18 holes and we beat him for a couple hundred bucks,” Palmer said Tuesday. “Frank said, ‘Are you going to give us a chance to get even?’ And I said, ‘Sure, what do you want to play for?’ We were hassling over that and I said, ‘Frank, you have a top coat that I really love. I’ll put up whatever dollars I have and play you for it.”’

And they did. Palmer said Finsterwald shot 29 over nine holes, and the King shot in the neighborhood of 31. They won the match, and Palmer got the coat.

“I still have it,” Palmer said. “I’ve had it redone and remodeled. It’s in my dresser. It’s one of my favorite things in my golfing career — the coat I couldn’t afford.”

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SUN CITY: It began in 1981 as an exhibition called the “Million Dollar Challenge” back when $1 million meant something. Now, the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa will become part of the European Tour scheduled for the 2013-14 season.

It will be played Dec. 5-8 at the Gary Player Country Club, and the field will increase to 30 players. The winner will get $1.25 million, with last place paying $100,000. It will count toward the money list on the European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

The leading 10 players from the top 30 on the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup will be eligible, along with the winners of the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour and Australasian Tour money lists. Players also can qualify through the South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship in the weeks before the Nedbank.

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