Q&A with Rebecca Lee-Bentham - Canada's Youngest LPGA Golfer
By Jackelyn Crawford
At 20 years old, Toronto's Rebecca Lee-Bentham is the youngest Canadian on this year's LPGA Tour, and one of just two rookies. The former Canadian Junior Girls' champion recently gave up a full golf scholarship at the University of Texas to pursue her dreams of playing professional golf. We caught up with Rebecca on March 22 to find out how life is treating her as a pro.
You've had a good run so far on the LPGA Tour. You made the cut at the Australian Open, finishing tied for 47th, ahead of LPGA veterans Cristie Kerr and Sandra Gal. You recently tied for 51st at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, finishing even par. How are you feeling so far about your performance? And what part of your game will you be focusing on for the next tournament - the Kia Classic?
I think I'm doing well for the start of my season. I've made 2/2 cuts while trying to adjust to a crazy life on tour. This week, like every week, I'll be focusing on every part of my game- mental and physical.
Do you feel differently now that you've graduated from amateur to pro status?
I feel different in some ways. Taking on a full time job and travelling the world, at the age of 19, has made me grow up and realize what's important in life.
What aspects of the LPGA Tour have you enjoyed most so far?
Meeting and making friends with amazing people. There are so many great women on tour who I've looked up to growing up, and I feel so blessed when I get the chance to know them and even compete against them.
What have been the most challenging aspects of tour life so far?
Always being away from home and the pressure to perform well.
What has helped you through the tour's challenges?
Having God by my side. Knowing that there's a bigger picture to every challenge.
What do you perceive as the greatest challenges that lie ahead?
I think life on tour gets easier as a player adjusts.
Now that you're a pro golfer, you've had the chance to rub elbows with some veteran pros. Have you met any players who inspired you in the past?
I feel like I'm living a dream out here. I've been able to meet players like Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb, who've really made an impact in women's golf. Every day, I'm surrounded by players who I've watched on TV growing up. My "big sister" on tour is Morgan Pressel, who's always there to help me.
Who do you consider to be your toughest opponent?
Yani Tseng. Haha. Really, the toughest opponent in golf is yourself. The way you think and handle yourself can either make you, or break you.
How does it feel to be one of two rookies and one of four Canadians on tour this year?
I feel so blessed that I've been given the opportunity to live my dreams. I am proud to be able to represent Canada out on tour.
We heard (or noticed from your Twitter posts) that it was your 20th birthday on March 20. How did you celebrate?
Yes, it was my 20th birthday on the 20th. I woke up at 5:30am to play a morning practice round for the Kia Classic, then spent the rest of the day practicing on my game, preparing for the event. Later on in the evening, there was a Pro-Am party which I pretended was a birthday party. :)
Any words of wisdom for amateur golfers out there who dream of making the LPGA Tour?
Work hard and you'll be amazed at where life takes you.