Two-time PGA Tour winner J.L. Lewis has passed away after a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. Lewis succumbed to the disease on New Year’s Eve, according to a statement posted on Facebook. He was 59.
Lewis turned professional in 1984 after graduating from what is now Texas State University-San Marcos. Five years later, he made it to the PGA Tour, where he spent most of the next 19 years.
In 1999, Lewis got his first career victory at the John Deere Classic, where he beat Mike Brisky on the fifth hole of a sudden-death playoff. Four years later, Lewis had his best season with a win at the 84 Lumber Classic, a runner-up and four other top-10 finishes on his way to earning more than $2 million.
In all, Lewis made 353 starts on the PGA Tour, where he had 23 top-10 finishes and nearly $7.5 million in earnings.
Lewis also made 40 starts on PGA Tour Champions from 2009-2012 with three top-10s before retiring from competitive golf after his initial cancer diagnosis.
Along the way, Lewis, who was born and raised in Emporia, Kan., also worked was an assistant golf pro at The Hills of Lakeway Golf & Country Club in Austin, Texas, and at Las Vegas Country Club, where he was named 1988 Player of the Year, Southwest Section PGA (Las Vegas Chapter). From 1990 to 1993, Lewis was also the golf pro at Forest Creek Golf Club in Round Rock, Texas, and was a three-time section player of the year, twice in the PGA South Texas Section, and once in the PGA Southwest Section.
In 1994, Lewis played on the PGA Cup team and led the Americans to victory over the Europeans by making a 50-footer on the last hole.
Lewis, who majored in business education and minored in English at Texas State, also penned several golf instruction articles and in 2009 published a book, the “Pocket Pro” edition of “Golf Tips from the Tour.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.