Kleckner chips onto the green during Monday's final round. Inset: St. Olaf holds the MIAC Championship trophy after posting an event record 939 (+75) over the three-day tournament.
Results | MIAC Championship Web Site

Kleckner wins individual crown as Ole women win first MIAC title in school history

Mike Ludwig
October 3, 2011

COON RAPIDS, Minn. - St. Olaf senior Vanessa Kleckner's career-low 74 helped her win the MIAC individual crown while she and the Oles set a championship three-day record en route to a team title, the first in school history, on Monday at Bunker Hills Golf Course.

The Oles collected a three-day 939 (+75), which is a championship record by 28 strokes and a school record by 81.

Three other Oles were All-MIAC honorees, finishing in the top eight. Maxine Carlson was fourth (tie) at +18 (75-80-79), Molly Erickson seventh at +22 (79-81-78) and Molly Knutson eighth (tie) at +25 (81-81-79).

Linde Sundell, the team's fifth player, missed All-MIAC honors by two strokes with a three-day 244, finishing 12th (tie).

Kleckner fired school records for an 18-hole round (74) and 54-hole event (229, 77-78-74, +13). She made an eagle on the ninth hole and a birdie on the 10th to combat a trio of three-putts she made during the final round, including one on the 18th.

St. Olaf head coach Luke Benoit told Kleckner as she walked off the 18th green that, despite the three-putt, it was still probably enough.

"Enough for what?" she asked.

The title may have been unexpected for Kleckner, who was the Oles' third-best scorer this year and in the fall of 2008 was a conversation away from not playing college golf.

It was then Benoit met Kleckner and advised her to give it a shot.

"She said she probably wasn't good enough to play college golf," he said. "But she decided to give it a try and worked hard every year on a different part of her game."

It's a good thing for the Oles that she did, because on Monday she wasn't good enough. She was the best.

Contact media relations specialist Mike Ludwig at (507) 786-3834 or ludwigm@stolaf.edu.