Klasse Qualifies for 12th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur; Anderson Makes First Since 2016
September 13, 2023 | 4 min.
By Jack Mendesh
NORTH OAKS, Minn. – Leigh Klasse earned medalist honors and qualified for her 12th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Wednesday (and 61st USGA championship) in her Hall of Fame career. She shot a two-over-par 75 to earn her spot, along with Lynn Anderson, into the championship to be played September 30-October 5 at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Klasse, just 11 weeks removed from a knee replacement, went into the day with low expectations and was happy to come out of the day on top and with a spot in the national championship.
“It’s been eleven weeks to the day since I had my knee replaced…this is totally unexpected, I’m just over the moon right now…very excited. I was just trying to hit a lot of greens and maybe make some putts,” Klasse said following her round.
Klasse did just that early in the round by rolling in a birdie putt on the par-5 second hole to get the round going, which gave her confidence after the time off after her surgery.
“I birdied the second hole which kind of set the mood for the rest of the round. I made a nice little putt and was like ‘ok I can do this’.”
She would follow that up with a bogey on the par-4 third hole and birdie on the par-4 sixth hole to make the turn at one-under-par 36.
Klasse opened up the back-nine steadily, making par on the first five holes to solidify herself in a qualifying position. She would stumble a little bit coming in on the final four holes, making bogey on the 15th, 17th and 18th holes, but consistent play up until that point had earned her the medalist position by two shots over Anderson and a spot in her second straight U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.
In her previous 11 appearances in the championship, she qualified for the match-play portion in each appearance, making it the round of 32 once and the round of 16 four times.
Lynn Anderson fired a four-over-par 77 to earn the second and final qualifying spot into the 2023 national championship, her 11th USGA championship overall and first time back into the event since 2016.
Anderson, winner of the MGA Senior Women’s Amateur earlier this summer, her first state win in five years, took a four-year break from competitive golf due to injuries and family matters.
After the long break, she has taken a simplified approach to the game that has helped her earn the results she is capable of.
“My approach was to just stay calm, treat today like any other round of golf. Tempo is a big thing for me, so just feeling the tempo and rhythm of the swing – stay true to my swing,” Anderson said following her round.
Her approach to the round paid off, earning her one of the two available qualifying spots. She started quickly with a birdie at the par-5 first hole followed by bogeys on the second, fourth and eighth holes to make the turn at two-over-par 39.
She would go on to bogey the 10th and 11th holes to get to four-over-par for the day and in a tight race with a host of other competitors. Again, moving forward with a positive approach paid off as she birdied two of the next three holes to separate herself from the field. She would then bogey the 15th and 17th holes to sit at four-over-par for the day moving into the last hole.
Anderson has been working on her putting leading up the qualifier and that work paid off as she made a 45-foot par putt on the final hole to clinch her qualifying spot.
“I have been working everyday for the last week on my putting. Today, balls were not going anywhere near where I was looking…but my putting saved me today. The putt on 18 was the cherry the top,” Anderson said.
After the long break from golf, qualifying for the national championship means even more to Anderson than it has in the past.
“It’s nicer than ever just because I’ve come back from an injury and my mom just passed away in April and I had been taking care of her for the past two years. It feels like a comeback victory and those to me are always the sweetest.”
In her previous two appearances in the championship, Anderson reached the match-play portion in 2016 and the round of 16 in 2015.
Amy Ellertson of Virginia earned the first alternate position after a seven-over-par 80 and Julie McMullin earned the second qualifying spot after a nine-over-par 82 and surviving a three-way playoff with Andrea Luther and Brenda Williams.
Qualifying Spots Available: 2 Alternates: 2