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Heavy With Promise : Mizrahie Stays the Course, Not Letting Rain Nor Pregnancy Slow Her Down

March 16, 1986|STEVE SPRINGER | Times Staff Writer

Several golfers said conditions in Saturday's round of the GNA/Glendale Federal LPGA tournament were the worst they'd ever played in.

There was the constant rain, battering their bodies and reducing parts of Glendale's Oakmont Country Club to a quagmire.

There was the chill wind, piercing their lungs like a cold knife.

And there was the bitter cold, freezing them until they could barely feel the clubs in their hands.

But there were no excuses. At least not from Barbra Mizrahie.

"I wouldn't let any of it bother me," said the golfer from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "I've listened to people make excuses all my life. People who do that don't belong out there. They are losers. I don't need excuses."

If anybody ever had one, though, it is Mizrahie. Talk about playing with a handicap. She was out there Saturday despite the fact she is 4 1/2 months pregnant.

She is quick, however, to shrug off any of this above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty stuff. "I'm a competitor," she said. "I'm tough, pregnant or not."

Mizrahie, 34, figures she has overcome bigger obstacles than the stomach she is currently trying to swing over.

Born in Indonesia, she was exposed to the game as a teen-ager. When she first decided to play, she was lacking a few minor things. Like shoes and clubs. "Shoes were very expensive there," she said, "and you couldn't find them anyway."

Add to this the fact that golf is basically a male sport in Indonesia and you have to admire the mere fact she ever took a swing.

But she did. At age 14, she stepped on a course, barefoot with four clubs she'd managed to round up. She wasn't particularly good. She played in the Indonesian Open that year and didn't do too well. But at 17, she came back and made that tournament her own, winning it in 1967 and in each of the following three years.

In 1971, her family emigrated to California and Mizrahie put away her clubs to devote herself to a career in medicine.

But she couldn't quite put away her desire to play golf.

Oh, she says she gave up medicine because of the difficulty she had learning English. But push her and she'll admit a lingering love of golf was just as responsible.

Through Bill Shaw, a San Fernando Valley golf instructor, she met Marty Trachtenberg, who worked with her until she was ready for the Ladies Professional Golf Assn. tour.

She joined the tour in 1975, but wasn't happy with the results. "I was lousy by LPGA standards," she said.

So she got a job as a cashier and continued to work on her game.

She returned to the tour three years later. It's been a struggle. She has yet to win her first professional tournament. In 1980 and 81, she finished among the top 55 money winners. Several slow years followed, but last season was her best yet financially, with total earnings of a little over $31,000.

Her best finish this year was a 13th two weeks ago in the Uniden LPGA at the Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa.

She played 14 holes Saturday before play was halted because of the conditions, and will tee off today five over par, six strokes behind the leaders.

She admitted her mother isn't too crazy about her being out there with child, but she said her husband of one year, Ron Elkman, understands.

"He knows I'm very independent," she explained, "so he lets me have my space when it comes to my job."

Still, she has to labor at her craft these days.

"Instead of swinging down, I'm swinging around," she said. "I understand there are limitations to what I can do now. But as long as I can be strong mentally and as long as I feel I can swing properly, I can play. I do get a little more tired. I feel heavy. I feel round. I'm hitting shots like I've never seen in my life. When that happens, your body is telling you that you are too big. I know the time is coming when I am going to have to devote myself to my baby."

That time, she says, positively, absolutely, unequivocally, will start right after this tournament has ended.

But until then, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stay her from making her appointed rounds.

'I've listened to people make excuses all my life. People who do that don't belong out there. They are losers. I don't need excuses.'

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