�A patriot first and a pro golfer second�: U.S. Open champion, former local resident Orville Moody dies at age 74

From Staff, Wire Reports

Aug. 10, 2008 - The golfing world will remember Orville Moody for many things - the 1969 U.S. Open championship, the long putter he used on the Senior Tour, and the way he went through local and sectional qualifying to win a PGA major.

Hopkins County will remember him as one of their own.

Moody, who was the golf pro at Sulphur Springs Country Club for four years in the early '80s, died Friday in Allen at age 74 from complications caused by multiple myeloma.

Affectionately called ‘‘Sarge’’ because of his 14 years in the U.S. Army, Moody was the last player to win the U.S. Open after going through local and sectional qualifying. He shot a 72 in the final round at Champions Golf Club in Houston in 1969 for a one-shot victory over Deane Beman, Al Geiberger and Bob Rosburg.

��We are all going to miss Sarge, who was a patriot first and a professional golfer second,�� PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. ��He embodied a bit of golf�s everyman whom we all could identify with.��

Moody and his family moved to Sulphur Springs in 1981 when he became the golf pro at SSCC. In 1984, at the age of 50, he revived his professional golf career by joining the Senior PGA Tour. He won the first tournament he entered in Panama, and had 11 victories on the Senior Tour, including becoming one of just a handful of players to win by the U.S. Open and the Senior U.S. Open in 1989.

Moody was a five-time runner-up on the PGA Tour and won tournaments in Hong Kong, Morocco and Australia.

��The USGA was proud to call Orville Moody an Open and Senior Open champion,�� USGA executive director David Fay said. ��While his victory in the 1969 Open at The Champions was a surprise, Orville�s superb ball-striking talents were, thankfully, showcased over the next quarter century, both on the regular and senior tour.

��The expression, �He could golf his ball,� certainly applied to Orville.��

Moody enjoyed other sports as well, including fishing, hunting and watching high school sports. While living in Sulphur Springs, he frequented games at SSHS, North Hopkins, Como-Pickton and Winnsboro. He also enjoyed helping tutor high school golfers when he wasn't on tour.

Moody was born on Dec. 9, 1933 in Chickasha, Okla., the youngest of 10 children of Sarah and Cleave Moody. His parents, three brothers and three sisters preceded him in death.

He is survived locally by a daughter and son-in-law, Michelle and Randy Blackmon of Sulphur Springs, and their two sons, Zachary and Brody; daughters, Sabreena Moody of Sherman and Kelley Moody of Melissa; one son, Jason Moody of The Colony; and six additional grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Sulphur Springs. No formal visitation is scheduled. Arrangements are under the direction of Mason and Mason Mortuary.

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