The recent Canby High graduate says the uncertainty has been a blessing in disguise as he works toward joining the Division I program.

by: JEFF GOODMAN - Bradley Klienstuber, who was named the Three Rivers League player of the year as a senior, plans to continue his golf career as a walk-on at Brigham Young University.Bradley Klienstuber is taking a risk by attending Brigham Young University.

The recent Canby High School graduate knows he could have accepted one of the several offers he received from other schools. He knows he could have spent the summer looking forward to a guaranteed spot on a college golf roster.

But, in his mind, he would have been selling himself short.

“I got a couple offers from Division II schools with scholarship money, but my goal my whole life has been to play Division I golf,” he said.

And Klienstuber has not given up on that goal. He hopes to qualify as a walk-on for the BYU men’s golf team, which competes at the highest level of collegiate as a member of the West Coast Conference.

He’ll aim to play under coach Bruce Brockbank, who has led the Cougars to four conference titles and more than a dozen NCAA regional appearances in 20-plus years at the helm. BYU tied for third place at its conference championships and qualified for NCAA regionals for the first time in three years this past season.

Klienstuber, though, will head to Provo, Utah, having accepted the fact that nothing is guaranteed.

“I've been in contact with the coach since last January, and we shoot emails back and forth and we talk to each other, so I'm going into it thinking there’s a good chance because he knows what I’ve been doing and he's showing interest,” Klienstuber said. “There's no scholarship money, but I think I have a good shot at making the team. I'm just gonna go there and show them what I can do, and then they'll make their decision. Hopefully, it'll all work out.”

Klienstuber said the uncertainty has been a “blessing in disguise” because it’s forced him to continue working on his game.

“Instead of thinking, ‘I have a scholarship, I'm as good as I need to be,’ it's made me a better golfer,” he said following a recent practice at Oswego Lake County Club. “Hopefully, I can show them what I’m made of.”

Klienstuber also has lofty aspirations in the classroom. He’s planning on majoring in chemistry, an academic route that could prove particularly challenging if he’s traveling with the golf team.

“It's gonna be tough,” he said. “We'll see how I hold up.”

Klienstuber might never have yearned to play Division I golf if not for the influence of his family. He remembers hitting balls around in his yard as a young boy and recalls numerous outings at Charbonneau Golf Club with his father, Jeff Klienstuber, and his grandfather, Gene “Bompsie” Tienken.

As he grew up, he took pleasure in the mental challenges the game provides.

“I was drawn to it by the fact that it’s an individual sport,” he said. “It’s just you against the course. You don’t deal with other clashing personalities. I’ve played basketball and football, but I’ve loved that it’s all on you to be as good as you can be.”

Klienstuber was Canby’s best golfer during much of his prep career, consistently shooting in the mid-70s or better.

This past season, he was named the Three Rivers League’s player of the year after carding a 144 to earn runner-up honors at the two-day district championships.

He made his third appearance at the OSAA state tournament, tying for 15th place on the individual leaderboard with a two-day 150. He led the Canby contingent with a 152 as a freshman in 2010, tying for 13th overall, and logged a 159 to tie for 25th as a junior in 2012.

Klienstuber said qualifying for the Class 6A finals this year was particularly memorable because it was part of a team berth. It was the realization of a goal he had discussed with teammates Blake Netter, Benson Winklebleck, Nathan Pellatz and Andrew Myers even before starting high school.

“That was awesome,” Klienstuber said. “Just growing up, we’d always play together, so it was nice to get all five of us back there with at least a chance to win a state title. It had been a goal of ours for a really long time. It was a great experience to be back with those guys because we had worked on it so long.”

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