Kuenster improves in second year

The sophomore has the best average on the team by nearly three full strokes.

Gophers second year Celia Kuenster lines up her shot at the Minikahda Club during the Minnesota Invitational on Tuesday, September 15.

Alex Tuthill-Preus, Daily File Photo

Gophers second year Celia Kuenster lines up her shot at the Minikahda Club during the Minnesota Invitational on Tuesday, September 15.

Jack White

Celia Kuenster was the prize of the Gophers recruiting class in 2014. Even though Kuenster was a local golfer out of Cretin-Derham Hall, head coach Michele Redman said they recruited her even outside of the state.
“We recruited her very hard for two years,” Redman said. “We pretty much followed her to all of her tournaments when she was traveling.”
Now at the University of Minnesota, the sophomore has been one of the biggest factors in the Gophers success this season.
Kuenster is ranked No. 28 individually in the nation and came in first place in the team’s opening tournament. Kuenster said her mentality on the course has been a big factor in her recent achievements.
“I’ve worked extremely hard on the mental side of the game. I don’t think people give it enough credit,” Kuenster said. “It’s vital for success.”
Kuenster was a part of a three-person freshman class for the Gophers in 2014 with Heather Ciskowski and Sabrine Garrison. Ciskowski and Kuesnter were both top 50 recruits in the country, according to the American Junior Golf Association.
Although Kuenster decided on Minnesota, she didn’t really consider the school until Redman arrived there in 2011.
“Until [Redman] came here, Minnesota never even crossed my mind,” said Kuenster. “I didn’t grow up a Gopher fan, so it never really crossed my mind to come here and stay home. I’m very fortunate that I did, and I’m very fortunate that [Redman] decided to coach here.”
One of Kuenster’s better friends on the team is junior Emie Peronnin. Peronnin said both her and Kuenster are similar players in the sense that they are both ball-strikers.
“We spend a lot of time together,” Peronnin said. “We have the same life aspiration to play pro golf, so that’s kind of brought us together. She’s a very nice girl. She’s very dedicated. She’s helped all of us, pushing us forward in our golf. She’s very inspirational to everyone on the team.”
Kuenster has pushed her own golf game forward, lowering her average score from 76.1 a year ago to 72 this season.
Her average score is almost three strokes lower than anyone else on the team.
“I think she learned a lot last year, and I think she’s applying that this fall,” said Redman. “She’s a very hard worker, and she’s very motivated.”
Kuenster will look to continue her success at the Windy City Collegiate Classic this week. Last year Kuenster led the Gophers at the meet, finishing with a score of 217 on the
Westmoreland Country Club golf course.
“I really enjoy playing Westmoreland,” Kuenster said. “It’s an awesome golf course. We have some awesome memories from last year, so that can always serve me well.”