|Bill Gabal has the distinction of being Beaver County’s
most successful professional golfer, even though he never spent full
time on the sport. Rather than starve on the golf circuit, he worked
for many years at the Ambridge Works of the Armco Steel Corporation.
He remained active in the sport and in 1987 tied for second in the Golden State Senior Open at Lompoc,
California. Amazingly, Bill was largely a self taught golfer. As a
caddy at the Ambridge Country Club in this youth, he studied the
style of golfers, then practiced endlessly on his own at
Ambridge Boro Park until he mastered the fine points of the game.
Bill's first real taste of victory came in 1950 when he won the
Ambridge Country Clun Caddie title, and later that year he captured the Ambridge Jaycees Golf Tournament
championship and his career
was well underway. Those two key victories came while he was still a
junior at Ambridge High School. The following year he won the WPIAL
golf title and placed fourth in the PIAA state tournament. Bill
continued his amateur career until 1961, when he turned pro at age
27. In both 1963 and 1964 he competed in the US Open golf
tournament, finishing in the money both times. He gained valuable
experience playing against such greats as Arnold Palmer,
Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. After being hampered by an injury
for several years, Bill competed in the 1969 Canadian Open and won
the United Steelworkers of America golf tournament. In his long
career, Bill reached the qualifying round of the National Open 12
times, set seven course records, and sunk three holes in one.