Minnesota Golf Association

Klasse and Miller Erase Deficit, Surge to MGA Women's Senior Four-Ball Title

June 4, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  MINNETRISTA, Minn. – Facing a three-stroke deficit behind three-time champions Claudia Pilot and Brenda Williams entering Tuesday’s final round of the 2019 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship, the twosome of Leigh Klasse and Barbara Miller carded six birdies to come from behind and claim a two-stroke victory at Burl Oaks Golf Club.
After Klasse and Miller fired a 1-under 71 to begin the championship Monday, Klasse led the way Tuesday by breaking a course record, shooting a 68 on her own ball, while Miller added a late birdie to help the pair reach 6-under for the round, finishing the 36-hole event at 7-under par 137.
The victory Tuesday is Klasse’s seventh overall and fifth straight, winning the previous four tournaments with partner Lynn Anderson, while Tuesday’s win is the first career state title for Miller. Klasse also teamed up with Mary Hoisser to win the championship in 2011 and 2013.
“I think we discussed things really well—reading greens and club selection,” Klasse said of her team’s success this week. “It was windier yesterday, so it was a lot tougher to play and getting used to the greens, because they’re different from what we’re used to playing on. We worked well helping each other out mentally on what to do.”
Trailing by three in difficult conditions, Klasse knew her and Miller would need to be aggressive from the first tee box Tuesday.
“I thought we needed to make up a shot every three holes so that when we made the turn, it was all square,” she said. “From there on it would basically be match play. We both hit the ball really well—I kind of messed around on No. 2, but we had a lot of greens where both of us had good putts for birdie. We did a good job of when one person was off the green, getting up-and-down so the other person could really go for their putt.”
Klasse, of the University Golf Club, rolled in a 12-footer on the opening hole and would convert her birdie look from eight feet at the fifth to move to 3-under for the championship. With Miller already in for par at the seventh, Klasse drilled her downhill birdie chance from 12 feet, moving the two to 4-under.
Helped by Miller’s line at the par-4 10th, Klasse rolled in her birdie look from 15 feet to earn a share of the lead for the first time. Miller’s short birdie at the 13th put the twosome in the lead for good before Klasse added one more birdie for good measure at the 15th, sinking another downhill putt from 14 feet.
“I was making the pars so [Klasse] she could go for birdies. It’s wonderful to win my first tournament and for Leigh to call me and ask to be her partner was a dream come true,” Miller said after the win Tuesday. “She’s a mentor, so I enjoyed playing with her today and I’m glad I was able to win alongside her.”
Head professional at Burl Oaks Brian Seiwart said course records weren’t immediately available Tuesday, but believes Klasse tied the course record during the opening round Monday with a 71 before shattering it during the final round with a 68 Tuesday.
Klasse, who will turn 60 this September, was inducted into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame in 2014 with more than 50 state victories to her credit. Asked how many course records the former Gopher golfer owns, Klasse surprisingly replied, “Not many.”
Trish Olsen, of Stillwater Country Club, and Karen Norton, Forest Hills Golf Club, fired a two-day total of 6-over par 150 to edge the pairing of Keller Golf Course’s Kari Haug and Christina Payton by one shot in the First Flight Tuesday.
The twosome of Sherry Gabrielson, from Brookview Golf Course, and Beth Rubin, of Bent Creek Golf Club, as well as the team of Joan Frie, from Monticello Golf Club, and Sheryl Raithel, of Keller Golf Course, each carded identical rounds of 80 and 81, respectively. Gabrielson and Rubin prevailed in a scorecard playoff to earn top honors in the Second Flight Tuesday.
Karla Ryshavy, from Bearpath Golf and Country Club, and Mary Williams, of Hazeltine National Golf Club, fired a round of 5-over par 77 Monday to begin the championship and followed it with the same score during Tuesday’s final round to claim a 14-stroke victory in the Third Flight.
In the Fourth Flight, partners Melanie Jaeb and Emi Sako, who both play out of University Golf Course, combined to shoot a round of 82 during the final round to earn a one-stroke victory over Caramia Antonello and Shawna Johnson at 17-over 161.
Jeanne Marquardt and Sally Olsen, both from Brackett’s Crossing Country Club, combined to shoot a 36-hole total of 169 to earn a six-stroke victory in the Fifth Flight, while Jean Buller, of Golden Eagle Golf Club, and Katie Deeg, from the Pines at Grand View Lodge, claimed medalist honors in the Sixth Flight by shooting 36-over 180.
The 2020 MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be played at Oak Glen Golf Club in Stillwater.


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