On a weekend when University of Arkansas graduate David Lingmerth won his first PGA Tour title, the Razorbacks lost another of their alumni with the death of five-time Sunshine Tour winner Sean Pappas.
Pappas, who once shot 59-61-64-68 in a mini-tour event in the United States to set a world record score of 252 for 72 holes, died of a heart attack at the age of 49. He is survived by his wife Sue, their seven-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son from a previous marriage.
Born on February 19, 1966, he was the second-oldest of four brothers. The oldest, Craigen, is PGA Head Golf Professional at Heritage Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio, while Deane was born in 1967 and Brenden in 1970. Deane and Brenden both played in South Africa, but they live in Florida in the US. Both have won on the Nationwide Tour (now the Web.com Tour) and played on the PGA Tour. Deane is the most recent winner from the family on the Sunshine Tour with his 2009 Dimension Data Pro-Am victory.
Sean attended the University of Arkansas with his brothers in the early 1990s. He turned professional in 1990. He did not find much success in his early professional years and returned to South Africa to play on the Sunshine Tour.
The first of his five victories on the Sunshine Tour came in his rookie season, when he took the Hollard Royal Swazi Sun Open. He won the 1994 Highveld Classic, the 1996 Lombard Tyres Classic, the 1997 Kalahari Classic, and his final win came at the 2000 Bearing Man Highveld Classic.
He has played over 230 events in South Africa and finished in the top 10 over 30 times, winning one of three of his play-offs.
He had an albatross in December 1999 at the Vodacom Players Championship on the 11th hole at Royal Cape Golf Club during the third round. He was only the fifth player to achieve that in tournament play in South Africa.
He played briefly again in the United States from 1994-95, finding limited success, with two mini-tour wins on the NGA Hooters Tour in 1994. He then moved back to his residence in Phalaborwa. His most recent full season on the Sunshine Tour was in 2002.
In 2010, Sean Pappas became the resident Club Professional at The Ranch Resort Executive Golf Course and Academy, south of Polokwane.
Members and staff of the Sunshine Tour extend their condolences to family and friends.