Laetitia Beck was all by herself in the women’s golf tournament, finishing nine-under, 15 strokes ahead of her next competitor at the Caesarea Golf course.
Beck, a Caesarea native and rising senior at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, shooting 69 in each of the three rounds. Portland Rosen of the United States, who goes to Duke’s NCAA league rival University of Virginia, took silver.
“Portland is pretty good, so I knew I would need to play well,” Beck told Haaretz Thursday. “On top of that I played the pre-qualifier for the British Open three days before the Maccabiah. That’s also why I am practicing hard.” Being so far ahead, Beck admitted it wasn’t too competitive on the individual level, but she did feel pressed to help Israel win gold in the team event, which it did by a stroke over Team USA.
“I didn’t have much pressure but toward the end we were close to the gold medal in the team division, and it is important to me because for some team members winning a gold medal is fun,” said Beck.
The golfing champ leaves Israel Friday for Scotland to play the final British Open qualifier round. The top 15 of 120 will advance. She finished two-under and was tied for fifth in the first round. In the final round she’ll face pro golfers, who were exempt from the first round. “I need to play decent, need to play well because the others play for a living,” she said.
Beck said her coach pushed her to practice because there might not be close competition at the Maccabiah, but she played with another goal in mind. “That’s why I was a little frustrated with my performance,” explained Beck, who said she felt she could have done better. “But it’s always a good experience to compete.”
After the British Open qualifier, Beck will spend time with her coach in Canada before returning to Duke for her senior year. She said her goal is “to finally win a tournament.” After struggling her first two years, Beck led a few times last year but never finished first. “I need to work on my mental game, my short game,” she said.
The psychology major says she is excited because in a year she can play golf for a living. “So now I need to concentrate on my degree and balancing my studies,” she added. “In one year I can start working hard on my game.”