Streit was called 'greatest golfer ever'

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

A photo display of Marlene Streit was unveiled and her long list of achievements were celebrated yesterday at the London Hunt and Country Club.

Streit, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, is an 11-time winner of the Canadian Amateur, a 10-time winner of the Ontario Amateur and has won the British, Australian and U.S. Amateurs. When she won the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur three year ago -- at age 69 -- she became the oldest holder of a United States Golf Association title.

The 72-year-old Toronto resident played in yesterday's women's pro am at the club. She was recognized at a luncheon after golf.

"When we held the 50th anniversary party in 1982 to mark Sandy Somerville's U.S. Amateur win in 1932, a reporter asked Sandy who was Canada's greatest golfer ever," Hunt member David Nash told guests.

"Without hesitation, he said Marlene Streit. Sandy would be saying it again today if he was here."

Streit was humbled by the praise.

"Sandy Somerville was just a wonderful, wonderful person and a man of few words," Streit said. "I always admired Sandy. He just let his clubs do the talking."

Streit's long amateur career began after she graduated from a Florida college in 1953. By 1956, she was winning most amateur competitions, including the U.S. Amateur, but never really considered turning professional.

At the time, she said she had married and didn't want to go on tour for the small purses being offered on the LPGA Tour.

She has no regrets, but might consider it today.

"Those days, a lot of the better amateurs stayed as amateurs," Streit said. "I could play as much golf as I wanted and the competition was excellent.

"I've had a wonderful life in golf."


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