Narang-Benaderet wins LWGA Club Championship
WESTPORT — Leela Narang-Benaderet and Jo Rasmussen are two of Longshore’s top female golfers. On Saturday the duo faced off in the Longshore Womens Golf Association’s biggest tournament of the summer.
Narang-Benaderet claimed the LWGA Club Championship in an 18-hole match play final against Rasmusssen. The pair played the first 15 holes before Narang-Benaderet sealed the match and the title.
The four-day showcase event for the LWGA began with a qualifying round on Tuesday, with the second and third rounds held on Wednesday and Friday.
“It’s great for women to compete against our fellow members,” said board member and longtime player Jane Dally. “It's great to go head-to-head; competition is what brings out these players, particularly for these majors.”
The LWGA — which began when Longshore became public in the 1960s — has ballooned to more than 100 members as the club has opened its doors to golf enthusiasts outside of Westport. The club hosts numerous events throughout the season
“Longshore is a good links course that has enabled us to expand our membership,” Dally said. “We also try to keep a lineup of fresh events to keep members interested.”
A passion for sports has been a lifelong one for Narang-Benaderet, a former pro who grew up playing basketball and soccer and now participates in many of the top events around the state. After playing hoops at Staples and Wesleyan, Narang-Benaderet took up golf and moved to Florida to chase the dream.
“I wanted to make it my career,” Narang-Benaderet said. “I did it for three years and gave it up because it was too tough at that age to play competitively. I turned back amateur and got into the business side of golf.”
Narang-Benaderet moved on and eventually became a director at Golf Digest. Now she helps run Double X Sports & Entertainment, a marketing agency in town. With two decades’ worth of experience on the course, the passion for the sport remains high.
“I love being outdoors,” Narang-Benaderet said. “Longshore is a fun course because it’s a shorter course; it’s great to come out and play with the ladies and challenging myself.”
“I think it provides an outlet for women to be competitive with themselves and compete with others who enjoy and are passionate about golf,” Narang-Benaderet said. “We all have that commonality which makes it fun.”