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Marlene Stewart Streit, Canada’s ace golf amateur

The Story

Earning pocket money was all Marlene Stewart had on her mind when she began caddying at her local golf course. Curious about the sport, the athletic 12-year-old tried the game out for herself and quickly became hooked. She took lessons and improved her swing and posture. With natural talent and genuine enthusiasm, a 16-year-old Stewart began competing with the top seasoned veterans. In this CBC Television report Stewart, now 22, discusses her success on the circuit and her phenomenal winning streak. Ultimately, Stewart will become one of the world's finest golfers and will be inscribed in the record books as the first golfer to win the Australian, British, Canadian and United States women's amateur championships. 

Medium: Television
Program: Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Dec. 30, 1956
Guest(s): Marlene Stewart Streit
Reporter: Blair Fraser
Duration: 2:34
Footage: US Women's Amateur Tournament.

Did You know?

• Marlene Stewart was born on March 9, 1934, in Cereal, Alta. Drought forced the Stewart family to move east to Ontario.

• Stewart was just 16 when she competed in her first Canadian Open in 1951. In a major upset, Stewart defeated veteran golfer Ada Mackenzie to claim the title. Mackenzie later praised Stewart as an "unbelievable child" and remarked, "you'll be hearing from her for a long time." - from the book Golf in Canada (1992), by James A. Barclay

• Stewart's record is impressive. She has won:
- 11 Canadian Ladies Open Amateurs titles (1951, 1954-56, 1958, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973).
- Nine Canadian Ladies Closed Amateurs titles (1950-57, 1963, 1969).
- Four Canadian Ladies Senior Women's Amateur titles (1987, 1988, 1990, 1993).
- The British Ladies' Amateur championship (1953).
- The U.S. Women's Amateur title (1956).
- the Australian Ladies' championship (1963).

• In 1953, Stewart defeated Irish champ Philomena Garvey in the British Ladies' Open. The British press remarked on the young Canadian's jaw-dropping abilities. Desmond Hackett of the Daily Express wrote, "We walked in dazed procession, wondering how so young a girl could know so much wonderful golf. Apart from the immortal Babe Didrikson Zaharias, I have never seen anything so coldly calculated and correct as this child. We have seen a girl who will surely become the greatest-ever woman golfer." - from Golf in Canada

• In 1957, Marlene Stewart married J. Douglas Streit. They had two daughters.

• Stewart Streit was recognized as Canada's top athlete and was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy 1951 and 1956. In 1967, she was appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada for her achievements in golf. She was also elected into Canada's Golf Hall of Fame in 1971. Stewart Streit remained an amateur her entire career.

• In 2004, Stewart Streit became the first Canadian inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. "I did not live my life to reach this destination," Stewart said at the induction ceremony. "I played for the love of the game and enjoyed the journey that has brought me here. It's been a wonderful life in golf for me."



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