Minnesota Golf Association

Battling the Elements, Former LPGA and Gopher Golfer Weiss Headed Back to Pine Needles Golf Club

April 30, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  EDINA, Minn. – Following a 13-year career on the LPGA Tour, playing in more than 235 events and earning nearly $970,000 in career winnings, Minnesotan Karen Weiss walked away from competitive golf in 2007.
The former University of Minnesota golfer returned briefly after a short two-year hiatus in hopes of qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club, where she shot 1-under par 70 to advance from the first stage.   
After earning a master’s degree in horticulture, Weiss has spent the last 10 years raising her family on a farm in Afton, Minn. Now 53-years-old, she’s eyeing another return to competitive golf for a different reason—the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, where she made two appearances at the U.S. Women’s Open in 1996 and 2001, making the cut at both events.
“I don’t really play golf anymore—ever,” Weiss said Tuesday. “I made it a goal of mine starting January 1 to get stronger, more flexible and in shape enough to come here and compete again. My kids are almost 12 now and they’re getting into golf, so I figured it was a good time to do both and make it good family time.”
Battling cold and wet conditions at Edina Country Club Tuesday, Weiss overcame a rocky start to post a round of 8-over par 80 to earn medalist honors by three strokes and the lone qualifying spot to this year’s championship May 16-19 in Southern Pines, N.C.
“I’m surprised—I didn’t feel like I played that well, but I knew the conditions were tough and you just never know when that’s the case,” Weiss said Tuesday. “I kept trying to make pars and trying to find the right places to be in. I feel very fortunate to have gotten through. I didn’t have my A-game, but in these conditions, it’s hard to find your game.
“My expectations were to win it. There’s only one spot and you have to win to go, so from that standpoint, that was certainly the goal. As far as knowing how I was going to feel, I had no idea. I wasn’t comfortable, that’s for sure.”
Weiss started slowly by making a triple-bogey at the par-4 second hole and followed it by carding a bogey at the third. A pair of bogeys at the sixth and eighth holes put Weiss at 6-over for the round, but she would take a step in the right direction by wedging her approach at the par-4 ninth inside of three feet for her first birdie of the round, turning in 5-over.
A pair of early bogeys on her back nine put Weiss at 7-over, but she would bounce back by rolling in a 15-footer for birdie at the 14th. She would fall back to 7-over with a bogey at the 16th but despite a three-putt bogey on the final hole, Weiss finished three shots clear of Betsy Aldrich for a chance to return to Pine Needles Golf Club next month.
“I hit my driver well and made some putts when I needed to and managed to sneak in there. It helped that I birdied nine—I was able to reset and fortunate to get a shot back there,” Weiss said after qualifying Tuesday. “I played pretty decent on the back nine, there were some tough holes that played a little longer and the wind was kicking up a little bit. I made one more birdie and a couple of bogeys, but when the conditions are like this and you have a lot of clothing on, it’s hard to find the feeling and your tempo.
“It wasn’t super windy or raining cats and dogs, but if you miss shots here and there, you can end up in some pretty tough spots around the greens with the false fronts. When you haven’t competed, those short-game shots are not that straight forward.”
Weiss, originally from St. Paul, was a two-year letter winner at Minnesota where she earned All-Big Ten and All-Academic Big Ten honors in 1989.
“I have some work to do for sure to steady my iron play a little bit. I certainly hit it good the other day in a practice round, so I know it’s there and my swing is coming around,” she said. “I think I’m going to have to keep it a lot more simple than I did 15 years ago; hit the middle of the green and not do too much.”
Aldrich, of Minnetonka, Minn., played her front nine even with Weiss at 5-over par, but would play her final nine at plus-6 to finish in second place, earning Low Amateur honors at 11-over 83.
Aldrich and Adele Peterson, from Eden Prairie, Minn., finished as first and second alternates, respectively.


Download Full Results: 2019 USGA Final Results 9-9--18 Format.pdf

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