2001: Klein’s patience pays dividends

Eureka, Mo.

When she held the lead after three rounds of the Michelob Light Classic, Emilee Klein spoke of the need for patience, of “not forcing it,” of “playing within” herself.

Patience is a virtue Klein had become familiar with, waiting since 1996 for an LPGA victory. She won twice in 1996 and had been waiting patiently for triumph No. 3.

It came July 15 when she shot a final-round 69 to capture the Michelob Light Classic and earn $120,000.

There was never any question, at least to Klein, that this was the week she’d finally get that third tour victory. She opened with a then course-record 64 on Friday en route to a 205 total on the Fox Run Golf Club course outside St. Louis.

“In the long run, I feel like I’m going to win a lot more tournaments,” said Klein, who went wire-to-wire, shot 11 under par and beat Annika Sorenstam (final-round 70) and Jill McGill (final-round, course-record 63) by five strokes. “I would have had to fold, and they would have had to play really well, and I wasn’t going to fold.”

After winning the U.S. Girls’ Junior in 1991 and the 1994 NCAA championship while at Arizona State, Klein won twice in her second year on the LPGA. Things looked pretty good at the end of 1996.

Five years later, things are just starting to look good again.

“I’ve won so many times, I’ve never been scared to win,” Klein said. “I’ve won so many times, I know how to do it.”

– From staff and wire reports

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