Former Champ J.L. Lewis Battling Cancer

Best wishes to J.L. Lewis, winner of the 1999 John Deere Classic, who has been    diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, according to the PGA Tour.  The 51-year-old veteran golfer withdrew from the Regions Tradition on Saturday after completing his third round.

Officials said Lewis's wife, Dawn, posted the following message on her husband's Twitter account on Saturday: "JL withdrew from the Regions Tradition this afternoon.  We just found out that J.L. has a serious form of bone marrow cancer.  Thankfully, the condition is treatable and the [doctor] feels he can get back to health & playing golf in the future. Keep JL in your prayers."

In 1999, Lewis won a five-hole playoff against Mike Brisky in sweltering heat to earn his first PGA TOUR victory, at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Ill., the last of 25 PGA Tour events conducted at that venue.  On  the second playoff hole, No. 16, Lewis holed out from a bunker for birdie to extend the playoff.  On the twosome's second trip to the 16th, Lewis made birdie and won. He also birdied No. 18 in regulation to force the playoff.

In 2005, Lewis led the John Deere Classic after three rounds. As the 54-hole leader, Lewis earned the right to donate $50,000 in his name to a charity of his choice, thanks to a pharmaceutical company sponsorship . Lewis designated the money go to Gilda's Club of the Quad Cities in Davenport, which assists cancer patients and their families.  The tournament also designated the $50,000 it earned as part of the sponsorship to Gilda's Club.

Lewis's only other victory on Tour was the 2003 84 Lumber Classic.  He joined the over-50 Champions Tour two years ago.

"J.L. Lewis always has been one of golf's good guys," said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.  "Everyone associated with the John Deere Classic wishes him a speedy recovery."



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