Minnesota Golf Association

Klasse Headed to Ninth Consecutive U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Championship

September 18, 2018

 
 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Since becoming eligible to play in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in 2010, Minnesota Golf Hall of Famer Leigh Klasse has earned a spot in the field at the national tournament eight consecutive years. And in each of those eight appearances, Klasse has advanced to match play every time.
 
Looking to build on her success from a year ago when she advanced to the Round of 16 at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore., Klasse fired a round of 4-over par 74 Tuesday at Bent Creek Golf Club to earn the final qualifying spot for her ninth straight Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
 
"My goal is to get to at least the [quarterfinals] this year so I am exempt for next year and don't have to qualify," Klasse said Tuesday. "I am hitting the ball very well and feel like competing in the USGA Senior Women's Open earlier this year and gave me an opportunity to watch and learn from the best."

Klasse got off to a rough start by carding four bogeys over her first six holes Tuesday, but settled in by carding three consecutive pars to finish her opening nine at 4-over. Sinking her short birdie chance at the par-5 10th, Klasse moved back to 3-over.
 
"The start was pretty rocky. I missed several putts I normally make and put myself in a hole," she said.

Carding a pair of bogeys on her 14th and 16th holes, Klasse dropped to 5-over for the day, but would finish strong by sinking her birdie chance from five feet on the final hole, shooting 74 to earn the final qualifying spot.
 
Klasse, an eight-time MGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year winner, advanced to the Round of 16 at last year’s tournament for her best performance at the event since 2012.

"I'm very excited to qualify for this tournament. Once of my yearly goals is to qualify and it is such a great opportunity to compete against the best of my peers," Klasse said. 
 
This year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship will be played October 6-11 at Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

Joining Klasse at the championship will be Amy Ellertson, who carded a 1-over par 71 Tuesday to earn medalist honors to return to the championship after making an appearance in 2016.
 
Ellertson advanced to the Round of 32 in 2016 when the tournament was played at Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley, Mass. This summer she qualified for the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., and on Tuesday made no mistake about her expectations for qualifying.
 
“I wanted to be the medalist,” Ellertson said. “I want to win and I’m looking forward to playing the course in Florida. I’m just thrilled to be lucky enough to have made it.
 
“I played pretty well on the front—I missed a couple of little putts that I probably should’ve made, but then thought I’d be able to do better on the back. I was hitting my irons very well and fairly close on the front. I had two errant tee shots on the back that cost me, but other than that I played pretty well.”
 
Ellertson, a 57-year-old from Free Union, Va., knocked her wedge inside of 15 feet on the opening hole to card a quick birdie Tuesday, but fell back to even with a bogey at the third. Converting her birdie from eight feet at the fifth hole, Ellertson moved back into red figures, but dropped a shot with bogey at the sixth.
 
Sticking her approach inside of 10 feet at the ninth, Ellertson converted her birdie chance to turn at 1-under before a pair of bogeys over her final nine would give her top honors at 1-over par 71 Tuesday.
 
“I’m a pretty good putter—I made the putts I needed to and missed a couple short ones, but if you get above the hole on these greens even as wet as they are, it’s tricky.”
 
Also qualifying for the championship was Linda Segre, whose steady round of 2-over par 72 Tuesday earned her a trip to her
 
“I’m really happy with how I hit the ball today and I didn’t make any birdie putts, but overall, I’m really happy with how I played,” Segre said Tuesday. “I think I missed three greens today and got up-and-down on all of those. My putting was a bit tentative and that would be the place where I could’ve improved.
 
“I was happy with my short game and did make some decent five and six-foot putts for par. If I’d been a little more assertive with my putting, I might’ve been able to sneak a couple more in.”
 
Segre, a 58-year-old who hails from San Francisco, put together on of the steadiest rounds of the 13-player field Tuesday, rolling in nine consecutive pars before a pair of three-putt bogeys put her at 2-over par for the championship. She would finish her round with six straight pars to shoot 72.
 
No stranger to golf on the national stage, Segre played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1978 and 1980 before turning professional in 1981, going on to make two appearances at the U.S. Women’s Open in 1981 and 1985.
 
Shortly after regaining her amateur status in 1990, Segre competed in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
 
“I’m really excited. I didn’t qualify last year—I made a bad golf management mistake in a sand trap. I used to be a good competitive golfer in the early ‘80s. I had kids and pretty intense job, I have a chronic illness and its nice to think I can continue to play this game at a competitive level. That feels really good. I’d like to be able to play well enough so I don’t have to qualify next year—that would be a great goal for the tournament.”
 
Betsy Aldrich, Minnetonka, Minn., and Lynn Anderson, Hopkins, Minn., finished as first and second alternates, respectively.
 
 
 
2018 U.S. SENIOR WOMEN’S AMATEUR QUALIFYING
BENT CREEK GOLF CLUB
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN.
5,612 YARDS, PAR 70
 
 
TUESDAY’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Amy Ellertson, Free Union, Va., 34-37—71 (medalist)
2. Linda Segre, San Francisco, Calif., 35-37—72 (qualifier)
3. Leigh Klasse, Cumberland, Wis., 39-35—74 (qualifier)
4. Betsy Aldrich, Minnetonka, Minn., 37-39—76 (first alternate)
5. Lynn Anderson, Hopkins, Minn., 39-38—77 (second alternate)
6. Norma O’Leary, Silver Bay, Minn., 39-40—79
7. Audrey Richmond, Mesquite, Nev., 41-40—81
8. Laura Leszczynski, St. Charles, Iowa, 40-42—82
T9. Ellie Layton, Rochester, Minn., 41-42—83
T9. Jaqueline Santopietro, Minneapolis, Minn., 41-42—83
 
 


6550 York Avenue South, Suite 211 • Edina, MN 55435 • (952) 927-4643 • (800) 642-4405 • Fax: (952) 927-9642
© 2014 Minnesota Golf Association. All Rights Reserved