Benjamin Lein takes two minutes
July 29, 2014
By Laury Livsey, PGATOUR.COM
- Ben Lein played college golf at Long Beach State before playing the PGA TOUR China Series.
The Diamond Bar, Calif., native knows a little about shoes and has a closet full of them to prove it. But since Ben Lein currently calls Taiwan his home base, he only has as many shoes as his suitcases will hold as he makes his way in professional golf, playing his first season on the PGA TOUR China Series.
My full Chinese name is Lien Yu Qun. Benjamin came from the Bible because my mom’s dad is a pastor. I would consider myself a religious guy even though I don’t go to church every Sunday.
I think most of the Marvel movies coming out nowadays are pretty nice. I think “The Dark Knight” was a good movie. That’s the movie I would watch for the rest of my life if I could only choose one.
I was born and raised in L.A., but I grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese at home. I’ve been fine both ways, with English and Chinese. I don’t read Chinese, although I’m learning.
I started playing golf when I was six, with my dad. I played in the Junior World in San Diego when I was eight or nine, and my dad said, “Hey, this kid is pretty good.” After that, we would get up early in the morning every single day to go hit balls, even on school days. Most of the time I would just putt. My dad did push me in a certain direction when I was young, and I appreciated that.
At Los Altos High School, the teachers liked me, but my grades didn’t reflect that. I went to Long Beach State on a full scholarship. I tried to attend most of my classes. Let’s say I was eligible to play in all the tournaments our team entered.
In college, I rented out a room in a multi-million-dollar house. I had a room to myself for 800 bucks a month. That was quite a bit for a college student, but I was getting a pretty fat stipend. I lived there with three other guys. They were all older than me, all graduates and working in the area. I had my own bedroom and a bathroom. I had the best view in Long Beach because the place was located on Signal Hill.
The Queen Mary wasn’t far from where I lived. I’ve been on the ship twice. Unless I wanted to get arrested, I wouldn’t take a club and a ball and hit a drive into the ocean from the deck.
Most of the TOUR players from Long Beach hang out at Virginia Country Club. I go out there occasionally, but since I’m back at home in Diamond Bar, I don’t go there much. But when I’m home, I do go and play with the Long Beach State team every Friday morning there so I can keep up with them.
When I’m in Asia, I think I feel comfortable because I had such a mixture of friends in California. Back then, I took care of the townies; white, Korean, Chinese. It didn’t matter.
My favorite go-to Chinese dish wherever I am is beef-noodle soup. That’s my safest bet.
I’m not a dessert guy. I don’t eat desserts much at all. I might eat cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, but it’s not like I go there to particularly get a slice. I drink soda pop occasionally, but I don’t crave it.
To be honest, I really don’t watch a lot of televised golf. But I did go to Tiger’s event at Sherwood Country Club in 2003. I went to the Northern Trust Open once. I can’t remember the year. I do follow PGA TOUR golf, but I do it on Twitter and other social media.
I’m wearing a pair of (Air) Jordans. They’re my wear-to-China shoes, the ones I don’t really care about. I don’t really own a pair of dressy shoes. If I had to go to a funeral, I guess I would take off the spikes of a pair of black golf shoes and wear those. I probably own 30 pair of golf shoes, and I took five pairs with me to the first event in China. So I only got to wear two because I missed the cut.
I’m a shoe collector. I own north of 200 pairs of shoes, and many of them are collector’s shoes. The one pair I would never sell is Kanye’s shoes, the Nike Air Yeezy 2s. They’re red. I bought them for two-eighty-five, plus tax -- American -- and that shoe, the next day, it sold for four grand on eBay. So I have that pair just chilling in my room. In the shoe world, that shoe is timeless.