Australian golfer Ian Stanley dies at 69 after cancer battle

SYDNEY -- Charismatic Australian golfer Ian Stanley, who was a prolific winner on his home tour before making his mark on the European seniors circuit, has died. He was 69.

Stanley had battled cancer for some time.

Stanley had a successful amateur career before turning pro in 1970. He went on to win 19 times in more than 20 years on the Australasian PGA Tour and also played for seven seasons on the European Tour, winning the 1975 Martini International.

Stanley joined the European Seniors tour on turning 50 and thrived, winning the 2001 Senior PGA and Senior British Open titles. He later worked as a commentator and in golf course construction.

In an interview with Australian Golf Digest in May, Stanley revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer in his mid-60s when a growth was discovered in his kidneys.

"Now the cancer has gone into my spine for the third time and it has come to the point where we don't think we can beat it. But we've put up a good fight,'' Stanley said.

"Sitting around in hospital as much as I have, you tend to do a lot of reflecting. I was glad I made the effort to go out there and play again when I turned 50 because I had left a bit out there.''

Stanley also encouraged young golfers to show their personality on the course.

"Sport in general has lost its sense of fun,'' he said. "There are no characters anymore. People love watching good golf shots, but they also like to see sportsmen with a little bit of charisma.''