On May 1, 1955, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, one of the greatest athletes in sports history, wins the Peach Blossom LPGA Tournament in Spartanburg, S.C. The victory, the 41st LPGA title of her career, comes as a Didrikson Zaharias continues her battle with colon cancer. After a strong start to the tournament, Didrikson falters in the final two rounds, but she holds off runner-up Marilynn Smith and wins by two strokes.
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The Babe’s victory in South Carolina was the final time she set foot on a golf course for an LPGA event. Despite her worsening sickness, she summoned a legendary effort that weekend and would later write in her biography, “I still wasn’t ready to admit that I wasn’t in the condition to play. I was more determined than ever to win one.”
Over the course of her amateur and professional golf career, Didrikson Zaharias won 82 tournaments, including 10 majors. Her final major win, at the U.S. Women’s Open, came after her cancer diagnosis. She won that tournament by 12 strokes while wearing a colostomy bag.
Golf probably wasn’t even Didrikson’s best sport. She dominated track and field at the 1932 Olympics Games, finishing with gold medals in the 80-meter hurdles and javelin throw. She earned a silver in the high jump.
On September 27, 1956, less than two years after her final golf tournament victory, Didrikson Zaharias died. She was 45.