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AREA GOLFER'S WIN INSPIRES GLEE AT HOME.

Byline: Yvette Cabrera Daily News Staff Writer

Neighbors on the tree-lined streets that hug the hillsides here aren't easily star-struck. After all, John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Charlton Heston were once neighbors.

But Sunday, denizens here glowed with pride over the community's latest celebrity - Women's British Open winner Emilee Klein.

``We saw it on ESPN, and when we saw that Emilee Klein won, we were pretty excited,'' said Victor Assad, who lives next door to Klein's parents, Bobby and Randee, and already had bought a box of See's candy as a welcome-home gift for the 22-year-old, former Notre Dame High student.

``It's just the classic American story of a young girl who makes it in big-league sports,'' Assad said.

Klein shot a 1-under-par 72 for a seven-shot victory at the open. The title was her second. Last week, she won the Ping Welch's Championship at Canton, Mass.

A former Arizona State student, Klein lives in her own Studio City apartment. But she spends a lot of time at her parents' nearby Valley Vista Boulevard home, putting on the front lawn.

It's there that Bobby Klein had the front lawn trimmed and manicured to create a miniature putting green for his only daughter.

Across the street, Lillian Salin, baby-sitting her granddaughter, whooped with excitement when she learned about Klein's triumph.

``I'm thrilled. I knew she would do it,'' Salin said.

Salin said the golf phenomenon and her father are up early every morning, leaving for the course by 5:30 a.m. ``She's very conscientious and a very hard worker,'' Salin said.

``It's exciting, it's really exciting,'' said Salin, as her granddaughter played at her feet. ``And you know what? She's not going to act like a celebrity. She's a very simple, earthy, sweet girl.''

Bobby and Randee Klein were in the gallery on Sunday, while Emilee's boyfriend, Kenny Harms, served as her caddie.

Even before Sunday's win, Klein was something of a celebrity at the Studio City Golf Course, about a mile from her parents' home.

According to weekend manager Jan Gray, Klein has golfed there since she was 7 years old.

``Everyone here was excited, supportive and was just waiting for her to win - we knew she was going to win,'' gushed Gray. ``For her to go and win is just awesome, so awesome.''

``People have been plugged into the open, they're just so excited,'' said Gray. ``Everyone here knows about her and knows she's the greatest thing.''

Assad said his is the type of neighborhood where people are friendly and look out for each other.

``So every time we see her, we get to tell her how proud we are of her, but this time we'll have a lot to talk about,'' said Assad, who has known the Kleins for about four years.

Despite Klein's steady climb through the golf ranks, her parents have remained humble about their daughter's success, said Assad.

``I think this victory has got to be beyond their wildest dreams,'' said Assad. ``They're really humble, her parents are not braggers. So it will be nice to see them on cloud nine. We won't expect them to come down to earth soon.''
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 19, 1996
Words:527
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