Bruce Fleisher, who won the 1968 U.S. Amateur and captured the U.S. Senior Open 33 years later, died from a bout with cancer on Sept. 23 at the age of 72 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. His span between USGA championship titles stood as the longest in history until 2009, when 1972 U.S. Amateur champion Marvin “Vinny” Giles surpassed the mark by winning the U.S. Senior Amateur.
“More than anything else, Bruce was a consummate professional,” said Fleisher’s brother, Jerry. “He shaved every day. He always had a crease in his pants. He was a proud member of the [Champions] Tour. He was gracious, he was kind, always there to lend a helping hand.”
Born in Union City, Tenn., on Oct. 16, 1948, Fleisher gravitated to golf at age 7 when he began caddieing at a local course with his two older brothers. Fleisher later attended Miami-Dade Junior College before transferring to Furman University. His breakthrough victory came in the 1968 U.S. Amateur at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, at the age of 19. Fleisher returned to the famed Donald Ross layout as a special guest when the club hosted the U.S. Senior Open in 2016, three years after he retired from tour competition.
“I only have memories of about four or five holes, especially the last three,” Fleisher told the Columbus Dispatch in an interview with writer Rob Oller prior to the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.