NO. 11

King of the course

Bill Kratzert won four events and earned more than $1 million on the PGA Tour

Bill Kratzert III first caught statewide attention when he won the Indiana Amateur Championship as a 16-year-old in 1968, and then the Indiana Open the next year. He was the youngest player to win either event.

The son of the longtime Fort Wayne Country Club pro, Kratzert was an Elmhurst High School graduate and two-time All-American at Georgia University. He fulfilled his potential by turning professional in 1974 and making the PGA Tour in 1976 when he won $21,253. Then he got hot.

In 1977, he won the Greater Hartford Open and won $134,758 to rank 10th on the money list. In 1978, he won $183,683 and ranked eighth. He slipped a little in 1979 with $101,628 to rank 35th but rebounded to win $175,771 in 1980, including the Greater Milwaukee Open, to rank 12th.

In 1984, he won the Pensacola Open, picking up his largest paycheck of $54,000. He also tied the Orchard Ridge Country Club record with a 63 during the 1985 Mad Anthonys Celebrity Pro-Am golf tourney.

Among his career highlights, Kratzert was tied for the lead after the first day and one shot behind Seve Ballesteros after the second round of the 1986 Masters. He also finished fifth at the Masters in 1978, and became the 52nd PGA player to earn more than $1 million in his career in July 1985.

Kratzert's 20-year PGA career ended in 1996 with four tournament titles and almost $1.4 million in earnings. He entered 465 tournaments, finishing in the money 283 times and in the top 10 59 times.

In 1993, Kratzert was inducted into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame, and he continues to work for ESPN as a golf analyst.

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