“It’s very embarrassing for me when people ask for my autograph,” Beck said. “I’m like: ‘I’m not a player.’ It’s nice, but there are all these players around who are so good.”
Beck is one of nine amateurs in the field for the CN Canadian Women’s Open which starts with first-round play Thursday at the Hillsdale G&CC.
The 19-year-old also happens to be from Israel, a fact she proudly displays with her country’s flag on her golf shoes, and she is the first player from that country to compete in an LPGA tournament.
Initial attempts were made to secure her a sponsor’s exemption to play in the 72-hole championship weeks ago, but when those failed she earned her way in by winning one of four spots available in Monday qualifying.
Golf isn’t a big time sport in Israel, but it was where the native of Antwerp, Belgium, developed in the game she inherited from her parents and began playing at age 9, three years after her family moved to Caesarea, midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the Mediterranean coast.
Population: approximately 5,000. Number of golf courses: One and a half, the 18-hole Caesarea Golf Club and another nine-hole facility.
“We live near the 18-hole course and that’s where I started (to) play when my parents put (me) in weekly lessons,” said Beck, who has three siblings, including a twin sister. None took to the game the way she did, however.
Beck will start her second year at Duke University in Durham, N.C., in a couple of weeks where she plays on a golf scholarship and where last season she earned Atlantic Coast Conference rookieof-the-year honours. Her 74.0 stroke average was secondbest on the team and seventhbest in the conference.
She is a Maccabiah Games champion in addition to having won Israel junior and ladies titles in 2009, and with fellow Israeli Hadas Libman represented Israel at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship in Argentina.
She also finished second in 2009 in the prestigious Duke of York Young Champions Tournament at Dundonald Links in Scotland, an international stroke-play event for girls and boys 18-and-under. She finished ahead of thenreigning Canadian Junior Boys champion Richard Jung of Toronto and England’s Tom Lewis, who at this year’s British Open became the first amateur in 35 years to lead a major champion after shooting 65 in the first round.
For her part, Beck has designs on reaching the LPGA Tour to make her parents, her country and the Jewish membership at Hillsdale more proud of her accomplishments than they are already.