Prior to competing in the WIAA Division 1 sectionals, Monday, Oct. 2, Brooke Knutson said, “I plan on being positive about my game. I believe that if I can have some good drives and good putting, I will do just fine.” Knutson did that and more.

Knutson, a member of the Westby/Viroqua co-op team, recorded the best 18-hole round of her career, carding an 81 on the par 72 Ridges Golf Course in Stevens Point. In doing so, she qualified for the individual portion of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament which was held at University Ridge in Madison, Oct. 9-10.

At state, the Viroqua High School senior scored an 87 on Monday, Oct. 9, and a 98 on Tuesday, Oct. 10, for a total of 185. She was 41 over par. Look for more details in next week’s newspaper.

Knutson has qualified for the WIAA golf sectionals in each of the past four years, her freshman year as a member of the Viroqua boys team, and then individually in the girl’s portion of the tournament as a member of the Westby/Viroqua co-op team.

This year it was different, though, when Knutson was joined by the entire Westby/Viroqua team, which qualified for the Division 1 sectionals by finishing four at the WIAA regionals on Sept. 27.

“I’m so used to going on to sectionals as an individual and I feel like making it as a part of the team takes a big weight off my back and made it a lot more fun…," Knutson said. "I am just glad I was able to experience this with my friends.”

Despite shooting a very respectable 43, which tied for the fourth-best round, on the front nine, Knutson said, “I was OK but not very happy with my play.” After back-to-back double bogeys on nine and 10, Knutson rallied for a 15-foot birdie chip-in on the par 3 11th hole and proceeded to par 6 of the remaining seven holes (including a 20-foot par saving put on 16) to card a two-over par 38, tied for the best score of the day on the back nine. “I think after the chip-in on 11, the adrenalin just kicked in."

“This may sound cheesy, but golf isn’t just a game to me, it’s literally my life,” Knutson said. “I have been playing golf for basically my whole life and I have my family to thank for that. Whether it was my parents or grandparents, I went out and played to have fun.”

The top three golfers at sectionals, not members of qualifying teams, advance to the WIAA state individual tournament. Knutson was at the top of the leader board among the individual competition with the 81 (43-38), Molly Larsen of Tomah was next with an 83 (42-41) followed by Sparta’s Jinny Yahnke with an 84 (42-42).

Ariana Valle (WHS) 109 (57-52), April Roth (Westby) 121 (59-62), Heaven Saunders (Westby) 130 (61-69) and Alicia Stuber (Viroqua) 145 (72-73) rounded out the Westby/Viroqua team scorecard.

“It was very exciting for the team to be there with Brooke, it was amazing,” coach Heidi Hubatch said.