NJSGA Hall Of Fame March Spotlight: Byron Nelson, Carolyn Cudone, Billy Y. Dear
The NJSGA recently announced the formation of the NJSGA Hall of Fame. An induction ceremony is planned for May 1 at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth. Over the next month, inductees biographies will be featured every two weeks as part of our handicap revision EBulletins.
Below are the biographies of three distinguished inductees:
BYRON NELSON (1912-2006)
One of the greatest golfers ever, Byron Nelson is recognized for having won 64 professional tournaments, including five majors. In 1945, he won an amazing 11 consecutive tournaments and 18 total events. While working as an assistant professional at The Ridgewood Country Club, Nelson won the State Open in 1935 and the Met Open in 1936.
The next year, 1937, he made his name known from coast to coast. His dramatic birdie at the par-3 12th hole and eagle-3 on the par-5 15th at Augusta, enabled him to snatch the 1937 Masters from Braidburn’s (now Brooklake C.C.) Ralph Guhldahl, who had won the U.S. Open that year.
From 1940-42, Nelson won 13 championships, including the 1940 PGA and the 1942 Masters, defeating Ben Hogan in a playoff. In 1944, Nelson won six tournaments. But 1945 was his year, the greatest year, in fact, by any individual golfer. In addition to winning 11 consecutive tournaments that year, he added an unofficial 12th in a row at the two-day Spring Lake Golf Club Invitational.
CAROLYN CUDONE (1918-2009)
Playing primarily out of Montclair Golf Club, Cudone won 20 state amateur championships, including 10 in New Jersey, six in New York and four in South Carolina. From 1968 through 1972, she won five straight U.S. Senior Amateur titles, becoming the only person, man or woman in any division, to ever to win five consecutive U.S. amateur titles.
In 1961, at the age of 42, she finished ninth in the U.S. Open. Cudone also played on the 1956 U.S. Curtis Cup team. In 1970, she was appointed the team's captain and was named Golf Magazine's Amateur of the Year.
WILLIAM Y. DEAR (1912-1986)
An outstanding golfer who won the NJSGA Amateur Championship in 1951, Billy Dear’s legacy is in his giving back to the game. A true benefactor, he fostered competition for young boys with his own championship, and the NJSGA Junior and Boys championships are named after him. He gave generously to the Caddie Scholarship Foundation.
During his playing career, Dear had affiliations with both Morris County Golf Club and Essex County Country Club. In addition to his State Amateur victory, he was runner-up in the State Open in 1951. He was also runner-up in the Amateur four times and partnered with four different players to win the NJSGA Four-Ball Championship five times.