Austin woman to play in USGA State Team Championships

Published 8:19 pm Thursday, August 27, 2009

Claudia Pilot, an amateur golfer, who lives in Austin, was selected to represent the women’s team from Minnesota in the biennial United States Golf Association State Team championships.

Pilot was one of three women selected to the team, which will take on teams from all over the country Sept. 1-3 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“It’s awesome to be selected and any time you compete in a USGA event, you’re treated like royalty,” Pilot said.

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Pilot was chosen on the team because of how she’s played recently.

“The players were selected to represent Minnesota based primarily on their performance over the previous two seasons of play,” said Tom Ryan, MGA chief operating officer and executive director.

Pilot played on the Minnesota team that won the USGA State Team Championships in 2001. She was medalist that year with scores of 73, 77, and 70. She also played for team Minnesota in 1999, 2003, and 2005.

This year’s team will feature Pilot’s teammate from the 2001 title team, Leigh Klause of St. Anthony, and Alison of Meyer of Duluth. The top two scores will count for the three-golfer team.

“I think our chances our pretty good,” Pilot said.

Pilot, 52, has golfed since she was three years old when her dad taught her how to play. She grew up in Hutchinson, Minn. played high school golf there, and then played golf at Minnesota State in Mankato. She has lived in Austin for the past 18 years and has played in various amateur tournaments around the country.

“I play for the love of the game,” said Pilot, who plays or practices every day over the summer. “I’m always looking to be the best and find different ways I can improve.”

Pilot will play in two more big events this summer. She will compete in the USGA Women’s Senior Amateur Sept. 12 in Homestead, Va. — she was runner up in the event last year. She will also compete in the U.S. women’s mid-amateur in Ocala, Fla. Oct. 3.

She’s also had a busy couple of weeks recently. She took second in the Senior Women’s North and South Championship in Pinehurst, N.C. and she won the Minnesota Senior Women’s Championship in Rochester earlier this week.

Pilot enjoys all of the traveling as she gets to meet more and more people.

“The best thing is all of the incredible people I’ve come across from all around the world,” Pilot said. “It’s such an honorable game and you are your own referee.”

Pilot plays out of Austin Country Club and Windsong Farm in Independence.