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A Golf Life

For the past 3,180 days Errie Ball was the last surviving participant from the first Masters in 1934, known then as the Augusta National Invitational Tournament. His amazing life in golf ended yesterday with his death at the age of 103. The Wales native provided one of the last links to the Golden Era of golf. As a 15-year old he qualified for the 1926 British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes in England. His first job after moving to the United States in 1930? Assistant professional at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, the home course of Bobby Jones, who won that British Open four years earlier. At that first Masters, Ball (pictured above, second from left) was one of 72 participants invited by Jones. He made the cut before finishing tied for 38th after shooting a final round 86. His playing career, which included one win and four top-10s on the PGA Tour, was secondary to a teaching career that spanned 83 years (most recently at Willoughby Golf Club in Florida) as a PGA of America member and Hall of Famer. He made only one other appearance in The Masters in 1957, missing the cut by three strokes. But eight decades later, he still kept tabs on the tournament, noting, "I never thought it would get as big as it is today."

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