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Kathy Whitworth: Golfer who broke record for wins dies at 83

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Kathy Whitworth – the professional golfer with the most trophies – has died aged 83, America’s Ladies Professional Golf Association has said.

“Her 88 LPGA victories are the most ever on a professional tour,” it said.

The Texan took six more trophies than her rival Mary Kathryn “Mickey” Wright, as well as men’s game joint record-holders Sam Snead and Tiger Woods.

She died suddenly on Saturday night while celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends, her partner said.

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“Kathy left this world the way she lived her life, loving, laughing and creating memories,” said Bettye Odle without providing any further details.

Whitworth won six majors during her decades-long career, and came very close, being a runner-up in 1971, to winning the US Women’s Open – the most prestigious trophy.

In 1981, she became the first woman to earn $1m (£829,000) on the LPGA tour.

“I would have swapped being the first to make a million for winning the Open, but it was a consolation which took some of the sting out of not winning,” she said at the time.

Her last professional title was in 1985 – 23 years after she triumphed for the first time.

Paying tributes, LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said Whitworth was “one of the most incredible women”.

“Kathy was a champion in the truest sense of the word, both on the golf course and off,” she said in a statement.

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