Klasse & Miller Tied for Lead in Women's Senior Amateur

August 15, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle

HASTINGS -- Leigh Klasse turned 50 in September of 2009 and became eligible to play in the MGA Women's Senior Amateur Championship in 2010. She won the tournament the first five times she played in it, before Brenda Williams ended her reign in 2015. Klasse then rattled off another four titles in a row from 2016 to 2019. She had hip replacement surgery in 2020; so she missed almost the entire summer, and Adele Peterson won the Women's Senior Am that year.

Last year, Klasse was back in action, and she was also back in a familiar position in the Women's Senior Am -- first place. 

On Monday, she was there again, although Barb Miller was tied with her for the lead, after they both shot 5-over-par 79s in the first round of this year's tournament at Hastings Golf Club.

"I had too many bogeys (seven)," Klasse said, "but I played pretty well. I missed a bunch of birdie putts, but on the other hand, I did chip in for one of my two birdies."

She and Miller, 59, who finished seventh in this tournament last year, had similar scorecards. Both had one birdie on the front nine and shot 40 (2 over), and both made four bogeys on the back nine before finishing their rounds with birdies on the 300-yard, par-4 18th hole.

With those birdies, they leap-frogged Jacqueline Santopietro, who birdied the par-5 16th and 175-yard, par-3 17th to get to 5 over, but then bogeyed the 18th and had to settle for an 80. She's alone in third place, which is where she finished the tournament last year.

Peterson, the 2020 champion, is also where she finished a year ago, in fourth place, after posting an 82. She's tied with Cathy White. Peterson, 59, was an All-American at the Univesity of Tulsa in 1986 and played on the LPGA Tour for the better part of a decade. She might be the longest hitter in the field this week, but she didn't make any birdies on Monday and played the par 5s at Hastings in 2 over, the result of a double bogey at the 16th. Going into that hole, she was tied with Klasse for the lead, at plus 5, but in addition to making that double at the 16th, she bogeyed the 18th.

White, who was fifth last year, had four bogeys and two doubles on her way to 82.

Williams, the only other player besides Klasse and Peterson to have won the Women's Senior Am in the last 12 years, shot 85 on Monday and is tied for eighth.

Klasse is a four-time MGA Women's Player of the Year -- and a 10-time MGA Senior Womens' Player of the Year. She's won more state championship (55) than anyone else in the history of Minnesota golf. But she said that her golf swing and golf game weren't all that recognizable in the first few months after the hip replacement surgery.,

"I think I probably waited a little longer than I should have before I did it (had the surgery)," she said, "and it took a while to get back to where I wanted to be with my game. I'd say it probably wasn't until about last August that I was able to hit the ball the same distance as before. But I've been doing whatever I can to get the muscles back to where they were. I've got an electric bike, and I've been riding it almost every day. I think that's helped quite a bit."  

2022 MGA Women's Senior Amateur Championship

At Hastings Golf Club

Par 74

Championship Flight

T1. Leigh Klasse                   79

T1. Barb Miller                      79

3. Jacqueline Santopietro     80

T4. Cathy White                    82

T4. Adele Peterson              82

6,. Sara Martinson               83

7. Linda Goodno                 84

T8. Christine Dean             85

T8. Brenda Williams           85

10. Alison Hurley               87

T11. Lynn Anderson          88

T11. Merrridith Joly           88

13. Lisa Lawry                  89

14. Krista Larsen              92

First Flight 

T1. Christina Payton        85

T1. Vicki Burns                85

3. Cheryl Jones               87

4. MJ Graphenteen         89

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website, mngolf.org, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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