The determined little golfer from Fonthill, Ontario, burst upon the competitive scene at age 18, winning the Ontario Junior Girls’ Championship. More remarkable, Marlene Streit won the Canadian Ladies Golf Association Closed Championship, defeating the great Ada Mackenzie - this only three years after she first swung a golf club. The gracious Mackenzie called Streit “an unbelievable child.’’

While Ben Hogan, the great American star, was having an incomparable season, Marlene Stewart Streit, who went over the ocean to win the British Ladies’ Amateur, would earn her most enviable nickname. The sportswriters called her Little Ben, not only because of her stature, but her total on-course concentration, determination and her elimination of mistakes.

At age 20, Marlene Stewart Streit graduated from Florida’s Rollins College. She would win eight tournaments in 1956, including both the United States Women’s Amateur – defeating Joanne Carner (nee Gunderson) – and the United States Inter-Collegiate Championship (later known as the NCAAs). She finished the year with the number one world ranking among amateur golfers.

Resisting all invitations to turn professional, Marlene Stewart Streit maintained her amateur status and continued accumulating Canadian titles, including both provincial and closed championships. Along the way in 1957, she married Douglas Streit and picked up the name she would go by for the rest of her life.

Marlene Stewart Streit, now the mother of two young daughters, lifted her amateur career to a level never matched, either before or since. She travelled to Australia and won the Australian Ladies Amateur, which made her the only golfer in history to capture national amateur titles in the United States, Britain, Australia and, of course, Canada.
Dave Perkins

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