Klasse Goes Wire-to-Wire at MGA Women's Senior Amateur for 24th Senior Win

August 17, 2021
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By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  BEMIDJI, Minn. – Entering this week’s Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Senior Amateur Championship at Bemidji Town and Country Club, Leigh Klasse has collected a total of 23 state wins as a senior since turning 50-years-old in 2009, helping her earn 10 straight MGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year honors.
 
A hip injury ended her 2020 season after just one event, but the Minnesota Golf Hall of Famer returned to her winning ways Tuesday, posting an 8-over 152 to claim her fourth win at the event since 2017.
 
“This is very exciting because it’s been kind of a downer summer,” said Klasse, who picks up her first win since the 2019 championship at Cannon Golf Club. “I haven’t played all that bad, but I haven’t finished tournaments. I was excited to come up here and play and with the mindset that I was going to finish and win.
 
“My focus coming into the round this morning was to make par and hit greens in regulation, but that didn’t really happen. It was a grind-it-out day, just get close to the green and get up-and-down.”
 
Similar to her start to the championship Monday, Klasse carded four bogeys during her first eight holes Tuesday, but would settle into her round and find her patented consistency, carding six straight pars before sinking a 10-footer for birdie at the 15th to maintain her lead over Betsy Aldrich, who played her first 14 holes in 1-over Tuesday.
 
Unable to get up-and-down to save par at the 17th, Klasse, whose lead grew to five after Aldrich played her final four holes in 3-over, dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to claim a six-stroke victory for her 51st state championship win.
 
“I didn’t have any [double-bogeys] this week," said Klasse, who carded a tournament-low 75 during the final round Tuesday. “If I was out of position, I figured let’s get bogey and move on. That was what I needed to do—I needed to stay in the moment instead of worrying about what I did on the last hole."
 
“I wasn’t striking the ball nearly as well as I did yesterday. On the back nine I started leaving it in the right spot, so I could putt from just off the green. My driver was working very well. I’ve been working on my driver and trying to be consistent with my ball flight.”
 
At 11-over for the championship through 14 holes during her final round Tuesday, Aldrich, the defending MGA Senior Women’s Player of the year, pulled within one shot of Klasse before a costly double-bogey at the par-5 15th.
 
Following a bogey at the 17th, Aldrich got up-and-down to save par at the last to finish at 14-over 158, six shots back of Klasse.
 
“Today was very stress-free until the 15th hole,” Aldrich said Tuesday. “Even before then, I burned a ton of edges. Good, solid putts that barely missed and I tapped in. There were several other opportunities, so I played well.”
 
Aldrich claimed two victories in 2020—the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Match Play and the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball—helping her to her first Senior Player of the Year nod, putting an end to Klasse’s 10 straight awards.
 
This season, Aldrich finished in a tie for second at the Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball with Barb Miller at Burl Oaks Golf Club before falling to Miller in the opening round of the Women’s Senior Amateur Match Play Championship at Monticello Country Club.
 
With Tuesday’s finish, Aldrich cards her second consecutive runner-up finish at the Women’s Senior Amateur, notching five top-4 finishes since 2017.
 
Jacqueline Santopietro, from Monticello Country Club, fired a 4-over 76 Tuesday to earn a third-place finish at 15-over 159, while defending champion Adele Peterson finish in fourth place at 160, shooting an 81 on the final day.
 
Linda Holzemer, from Hastings Golf Club, expanded on her four-stroke lead following Monday’s opening round, carding a 7-over 79 Tuesday to earn an eight-stroke victory over Ellie Layton (of Rochester Golf and Country Club) in the First Flight.
 
In the Second Flight, Susan Tesch, who played on her home course this week, erased a four-stroke deficit during the final round Tuesday to claim a three-stroke victory over Mary George, from Braemar Golf Course, shooting a final-round 81.
 
Ann Brilley, from Baker National Golf Course, fired a 13-over 85 Tuesday to win the Third Flight by a margin of three strokes over Keller Golf Club’s Marion Holly. Brilley carded a 36-hole tally of 31-over 175.
 
Emi Sako, from Highland National Golf Course, earned a victory in the Fourth Flight Tuesday, carding a final-round 97 to finish in a tie at 190 with Sharry Angell, from Brackett’s Crossing Country Club, before prevailing in a scorecard playoff.
 
Monica Overcamp, from Highland National Golf Course, went wire-to-wire in the Fifth Flight Tuesday, claiming a 16-stroke victory over Wapicada Golf Club’s Mary Klis, shooting a 47-over 191 for the championship.
 
In the 65-and-over Master Flight, Patti Hinde, from Highland National Golf Course, tallied a 10-under 134 Tuesday to notch an 11-stroke victory over Donna Martin, of Eastwood Golf Club.



 

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