When your dad is David Frankel, an Academy Award and Emmy Award winning director, it’s got to be tough to make a name for yourself. Jake Beber-Frankel appears to be well on his way to doing just that, but it’s not the movie business he’s chosen as his path. The 17-year-old from Miami, Fla., chose golf, and it’s already looking like the right decision.
Beber-Frankel, who sports a look straight out of Troy Polamalu’s playbook, flirted with 59 on Wednesday at the 44th Boys Junior PGA Championship, which is being held at Keney Park Golf Course, in Hartford, Conn. After reaching nine under with a birdie on the par-3 sixth hole, his 15th, Beber-Frankel needed two birdies on his final three holes to post a sub-60 round (Keney Park is a par 70). He got one on the eighth hole, but had to settle for par on his final hole, the par-4 ninth, giving him a 10-under 60.
The remarkable round set a number of records, including the Keney Park course record, which he eclipsed by two strokes. It was also the lowest second-round score in the championship’s history and, perhaps most impressive of all, it is also now the lowest score in the championship’s history. That record was previously held by fellow 17-year-old phenom Akshay Bhatia, who shot a 61 at the Country Club of St. Albans, outside St. Louis, in 2017. Bhatia, who will turn pro this fall at the Safeway Open, still holds the record in relation to par, as his 61 came on a par 72.
While Beber-Frankel has not received near the fanfare of Bhatia, he could be on a similar path as the southpaw, at least judging off his play this week. After shooting a three-under 67 with a double bogey and a bogey in his opening round, Beber-Frankel, who’ll be a senior in high school this fall, made four birdies in his first five holes on Wednesday.
“I knew right then that it could be a good day,” he said.
He was only able to add one more birdie on the final four holes of his opening nine, giving him a five-under 30. But once he made back-to-back birdies on Keney Park’s first and second holes, which were his 10th and 11th, he knew it was officially on.
“I actually thought of a 59 on my tenth or eleventh hole,” he said.
Prior to Wednesday, his personal low was a 63. His new low round vaulted him into second place. He’s begun his third round on Thursday, starting with a birdie on the opening hole to get to 14 under and into a tie for first.
Beber-Frankel’s 36-hole total of 127 puts him position to go after another record held by Bhatia: the tournament 54-hole scoring record of 199. Bhatia posted that three-round total in 2017, and it made him the only player in Boys Junior PGA history to break 200. To match Bhatia, all Beber-Frankel needs is a two-over 72, and a one-over 71 will give him the record. Based off the way he began his final round, the Stanford commit seems intent on shattering the record.
Beber-Frankel’s father, David, directed well-known films such as “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Marley & Me,” and has directed episodes of hit HBO series like “Band of Brothers,” “Sex in the City,” and “Entourage.” He won the Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) for his 1997 film “Dear Diary,” and he also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for his work on “Band of Brothers” in 2002.