Kara Nehrkorn has one more opportunity to get to where she wants to go when it comes to high school golf.
The Rock Falls senior wants a trip to the state tournament later this month, and that journey begins today at Wolf Hollow Golf Course in Lena, site of the Class 1A Lena-Winslow Regional.
Next is the Freeport Aquin Sectional, and if all goes well, the state tournament in Decatur.
"I think I've really improved since the beginning of the season," Nehrkorn said. "I've definitely been shooting better. I've been working out all the kinks in my swing, so I think going into the regional and sectional, I think I'll do well."
Rock Falls coach Deena Thatcher pointed out Nehrkorn has done a good job of putting herself in a position to succeed. She was a regular at Rock River Golf and Pool.
"This past summer is the most work Kara's put into her golf game all 4 years," Thatcher said. "She was out here a lot practicing, and I really think she's put in the time and effort to make it to state. I think she has the capabilities to do that."
A 4-year golfer for the Rockets, Nehrkorn's scoring average has steadily declined. She averaged 57.7 strokes per nine holes as a freshman, then 53.2 as a sophomore, 49.6 as a junior and 45.9 as a senior. She was honorable mention all-conference at the Big Northern Tournament.
The short game, and specifically, putting, has been an area of great improvement. She has concentrated more on keeping her head steady, resulting in a smoother stroke and more consistent contact.
"I had a lot of trouble with putting at the beginning of the season," Nehrkorn said, "but now I'm getting down to one or two putts per hole, and that's really helping."
Nehrkorn was a sectional qualifier a year ago, but failed to get past that step by carding a 109 at the Oak Club of Genoa. She needed a 96 to advance to state, but feels like that experience will help if she's back in that situation.
"Going to sectional is so much different than playing in the regular season, or even at the regional," Nehrkorn said. "The way everybody acts, you're around people who are a lot more confident – you just have to play better."
School: Rock Falls
FYI: 3-sport (golf, basketball, softball) athlete for the Rockets. ... Averaging 45.9 strokes per nine holes. ... Sectional qualifier as a junior