When the WIAA Division 1 Women’s Golf Championships began on October 11 in Verona, Norah Roberts was having unusual difficulties with her game.
The Union Grove High School junior was 4 above par on five holes before a rain delay interrupted play. Once play resumed, however, Roberts reverted to his usual dominant self.
His momentum continued until the second and final round of the tournament a day later, when Roberts clocked a 71 under par at the University Ridge Golf Course and climbed six spots in the standings. This allowed him to tie for second with AJ Powell of Appleton North in the field of 78 golfers for second.
As she finished five strokes behind medalist Riley Pechinski, a Stevens Point junior who finished with a 141 of 3 under par, it was a remarkable comeback for Roberts, a resident of Racine.
But the best was yet to come.
Roberts was then named All-Racine County Player of the Year for the third straight season and repeated as the States First Team player. But its crowning achievement came when the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin named Roberts the state’s Player of the Year.
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It was the first time a Racine County player had won the honor since Park’s Molly Redfearn in 2001.
Of the 10 best stories selected by The Times Journal’s sports staff, Roberts’ dominant year was ranked # 6. Stories were chosen based on the news‘s value and its impact on the community.
Roberts was informed of the news via text message from her trainer, Eric Swanson.
“He texted me the link and I knew right away,” Roberts said. “It was certainly a bit of a surprise, but because I had a good season, I knew I was one of the players in the line for it.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment, and one that I have wanted to earn for a few years now.”
How dominant was Roberts? The only event she didn’t win as a junior was the State Tournament.
She set the county’s all-time record for a low nine-hole average. With an average of 36.3, she broke the record of 36.8 set in 2013 by Sienna Chapman of Prairie. who had been the county’s most recent player to win back-to-back State First Team honors.
His strengths have included a 69 at the Janesville Parker Invitational, 72 at the Racine County Invitational and Southern Lakes Conference tournaments, and 71 at the WIAA Division 1 Union Grove Regional and Westosha Central Sectional.
For Swanson, this success is the result of great determination.
“There are so many great players in the state and the fact that out of all of these great players she won Player of the Year honors is incredible,” said Union Grove coach Eric Swanson. “She’s taken so long over the past year to take her game to the next level, I’m happy to see it’s paying off.”
But Roberts still has a season of golf at Union Grove. Her busy summer schedule, which includes the Wisconsin Women’s State Open, State Amateur and Wisconsin PGA Junior Tour, suggests she could take another big leap.
“I had a really good summer golf season which made me enter the high school season with a lot of confidence,” she said. “When I go to one of the heaviest tournaments such as the regional and sectional, there is a lot of pressure about it.
“The experience I gained from my summer program and the competition I play against has really helped me build confidence this year.”