[PHOTO: Phil Inglis/Getty Images]

Two-time European Tour winner Noel Ratcliffe passed away earlier this week, aged 79.

A PGA of Australia member of 47 years, Ratcliffe joined the association in 1977 after an illustrious amateur career during which he represented Australia in the 1972 Eisenhower Trophy alongside Terry Gale, Mike Cahill and Tony Gresham.

That team finished second to an American team boasting future two-time Masters champion, Ben Crenshaw.

Ratcliffe would go on to forge a highly decorated career after joining the professional ranks at age 29.

Affectionately known as ‘The Rat’, Ratcliffe won 1978 Belgian Open and the 1987 Benson & Hedges International Open, where he eagled the 72nd hole for a memorable victory.

Domestically, Ratcliffe’s greatest victory came at the 1977 South Australian Open at Royal Adelaide, joining an honour roll that boasts legendary figures such as Peter Thomson, Ted Ball, Billy Dunk, Graham Marsh and Greg Norman.

Ratcliffe played in the Open Championship on five occasions between 1978 and 1988, his best result coming in his final appearance at Royal Lytham & St Annes where he tied for 38th.

Upon turning 50, Ratcliffe focused his attention to the senior circuit and had enormous success throughout Europe and Australia.

He was an eight-time winner on the European Seniors Tour, winning the Order of Merit in 2000.

He was also a prolific winner on the Australian PGA Legends Tour, including the 1995 Australian Senior Open and the 2001 and 2008 Australian PGA Senior Championships.

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