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Canadian golfer Dawn Coe-Jones won three LPGA tournaments

Dawn Coe-Jones, from Tampa, Fla., blasts out of the sand on the 18th hole during the final round of the Chrysler-Plymouth Tournament of Champions Sunday afternoon, Jan. 15, 1995 at Grand Cypress in Orlando.

Chris O'Meara/AP

Dawn Coe-Jones, a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame who helped blaze a trail for Canadian women on the pro tour, has died of cancer. She was 56.

Golf Canada said Saturday that Ms. Coe-Jones died in hospice near her home in Tampa, Fla. She had been diagnosed with bone cancer earlier this year.

The native of Lake Cowichan, B.C., played on the LPGA Tour from 1984 to 2008. She won more than $3.3-million (U.S.) on the circuit with three victories and 44 career top-10 finishes.

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"Dawn touched so many people," said Gail Graham, who played alongside Ms. Coe-Jones at Lamar University and on the LPGA Tour. "She was always the one who worried about others."

"Dawn was a great competitor and role model for over 25 years on the LPGA Tour," said Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Sandra Post. "Her happy and positive attitude towards life will be missed by all that knew her."

The golf world took to social media Saturday to mourn Ms. Coe-Jones.

Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., called Ms. Coe-Jones a "great player & competitor & wonderful lady!" in a tweet.

Brantford, Ont., native David Hearn tweeted: "Very saddened to hear of the passing of Dawn Coe-Jones. She was a great player and role model for so many Canadians. You will be missed Dawn."

Former LPGA Tour pro A.J. Eathorne of Penticton, B.C., posted a photo collage of her and Ms. Coe-Jones on her Instagram account.

"A very sad day today as we say good bye to our dear friend Dawn Coe Jones," the caption read. "One of the most caring and wonderful women I have ever met. I am so lucky to have got to spend so many great times with her and her family. Love you always Miss Dawn."

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"Just hearing of the incredibly sad news of the passing of LPGA member & Canadian legend Dawn Coe-Jones. Always a class act. RIP, my friend," said American golfer and broadcaster Dottie Pepper.

"So sad to hear the passing of LPGA Dawn Coe Jones. A true competitor, ambassador of the game. She will be missed #RIP," echoed Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam.

Ms. Coe-Jones was diagnosed in mid-March with dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma that required full knee and partial tibia replacement surgery.

"The LPGA Legends are heartbroken about the loss of our great friend, Dawn, who fought a valiant fight over the past few months against a rare form of sarcoma," said Jane Blalock, CEO of The Legends Tour. "Dawn was truly a player and a person admired, respected and loved by all of us who had the fortune to know and play alongside her. This is indeed, a very sad day."

During the Dawn Coe-Jones Golf Classic in Tampa on Oct. 14, a golf fundraiser for sarcoma research, Ms. Coe-Jones was honoured as the recipient of the 2016 Colleen Walker Spirit Award. The award is presented each year to recognize a Legends Tour Player who best exemplifies Ms. Walker's spirit, courage and love of the game. A nine-time LPGA Tour winner, Ms. Walker died of cancer in December, 2012.

Ms. Coe-Jones had an outstanding amateur career, scoring back-to-back wins in the B.C. Junior tournament in 1978 and 79 and the B.C. Amateur in 1982 and 83. She capped her 1983 season with the Canadian Amateur title and won NCAA all-American honours at Lamar University.

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Her first LPGA win came at the Women's Kemper Open in 1992. She went on to claim the 1994 LPGA Palm Beach Classic and 1995 Tournament of Champions.

A fervent Montreal Canadiens fan, she savoured getting a Habs jersey with No. 1 on the back after winning the Tournament of Champions.

She was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.

"I was totally caught off guard," Ms. Coe-Jones said at the time. "In fact, I had to make sure someone wasn't playing a trick on me. I am just thrilled and proud to be included in such good company."

A veteran of more than 20 Canadian Opens, Ms. Coe-Jones said she had learned to embrace playing at home.

"Over the years I've learned that you just go out there and enjoy the atmosphere and feed off the fans," she said in 2006. "They are there to support you and want Canadians to do well."

Growing up in Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, she worked as a teenager at March Meadows Golf Course in Honeymoon Bay.

"I drove an old Ford tractor, cutting grass and raking bunkers by hand," she recalled in an interview with Golf Canada magazine. "We didn't have the equipment they've got now."

She honed her golf game at March Meadows before heading to Lamar University, where she won a scholarship in her sophomore year.

Ms. Coe-Jones made her farewell appearance at the CN Canadian Open in 2008 with her trademark beaming smile despite finishing 14-over after two rounds and missing the cut.

Ms. Coe-Jones was accompanied by caddie and childhood friend Kelly Feltrin, who was on her bag when she won the Kemper Open.

Her best score ever was 63 at the Safeco Classic in 1998.

Ms. Coe-Jones's best chance to win her national Open was in 1993, when she was third behind Brandie Burton and Betsy King at London Hunt. She tied for fourth with Canadian Gail Graham in 1998 in Windsor, Ont.

"I feel very proud of my career," Ms. Coe-Jones said in 2008. "I wish everyone who was ever out here had that opportunity to walk up 18 and be the winner just once.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be the best in your field one time. I was lucky enough to have it three times."

She married Jimmy Jones in 1992 and their son, James, was born three years later.

"On behalf of the entire golf community we are deeply saddened by the passing of Dawn Coe-Jones," Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons said in a statement. "Dawn was a tenacious competitor, a mentor and friend to so many of her peers and a proud ambassador for Canadian golf throughout her distinguished career.

"As we mourn her passing and send our most sincere condolences to family and friends, the golf and sport community come together in celebrating her outstanding legacy."

With files from Associated Press

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