A year ago, Kallie Lux was simply excited to be an underclassmen in the field at the WIAA state girls golf tournament.
Now with two rounds at state under her belt, the Janesville Craig junior is poised and ready for another couple trips around University Ridge Golf Course.
Lux qualified for the Division 1 state tournament as an individual and will play today and Tuesday at the Verona course.
“This was definitely my goal when starting the season out, so it really feels nice to return,” said Lux, who shot an 87 at the Kettle Moraine Sectional in Hartland on Tuesday, finishing seventh and advancing as one of three individual qualifiers. “I feel a little bit more prepared than last year, because last year I was a sophomore going to state, and everyone was just like, ‘Oh, you’re so young, congratulations!’
“It’s good to be returning. I’m a little less nervous, but there’s still nerves every time I play.”
Lux finished tied for 28th a year ago, putting together rounds of 84 and 85.
She will tee off at 8:10 a.m. Monday, playing with Jefferson’s Courtney Draeger, Kewaskum/Campbellsport’s Alyssa Dreher and River Falls’ Jaden Woiwode.
Lake Geneva Badger senior Holly Murphy, who has finished in the top 10 each of the past two years at state and cruised to the sectional title, tees off 20 minutes later.
“I’m glad I get to play with and against some of the best golfers in the state,” Lux said. “I just need to keep my head up and not be so hard on myself.
“I think everything in my game is working right now. I just need to keep it that way. My short game is pretty good, and I feel confident in that.”
Craig coach Alex Schaar said he has seen Lux mature over the past year and is excited to see her play again at University Ridge.
“She has grown a lot,” Schaar said. “She’s always had the physical skills and has always been able to really hit the ball well. But what I’ve seen this year is that mental step forward. I think that’ll be an advantage that maybe we didn’t have last year.
“Going in as a sophomore, it can be pretty intimidating.”
Lux said she also won’t mind the fall temperatures. The forecast is calling for temps in the 50s. That is a far cry from the weather throughout most of this fall golf season.
“Historically, I play better when it’s colder,” Lux said. “If it’s 90-degree weather, my mental game is not there, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s not going to bug me.”
No area teams playing
For the first time since 2008, no area high school program advanced to the state girls tournament.
Milton has been a mainstay, as it had qualified every year since 2010 with the exception of 2013.
Janesville Parker qualified in 2013, and both the Vikings and Edgerton played at state in 2009.
Badger/Williams Bay, which made it to state for the first time last year, was the closest of the area teams this year, finishing third at the Kettle Moraine Sectional, 12 shots behind second-place qualifier Union Grove. Craig, which has never made it to state, was fourth, another seven shots behind Badger.