Woodland girls golfer places 16th in state
by David Royal
May 21, 2014 | 680 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Practicing hard on the links is paying off for Woodland High’s girls golfing program these days.

McKayla Knuchel, a sophomore member of that team, fired an 88 this week and claimed the 16th best score at the 5A State Golf Championship, held at the Jones Creek Golf Course in Augusta.

John Howard, head girls golf coach at Woodland, said Knuchel performed well under the pressure of the competition, turning in her personal best score.

“There’s almost 400 girls in 5A across the state,” Howard said. “That’s a good showing by McKayla.”

The performance also points the way to improving her golf game even more.

“She played just about as well as she could from tee to green,” Howard said. “She had trouble adjusting to the speeds of the green.”

He said the performance puts a nice finish on the year for Knuchel, who qualified for state by turning in the lowest score in the region.

“Overall, she had a great season,” Howard said. “Obviously being the low medalist in the region was a great accomplishment. She won it despite competing on a day when there were monsoon conditions all day. It was just such a rough day to play golf. There were some big scores turned in that day, too, but it was still a very competitive event.

“Of course it was no surprise to us that she performed the way she did at the region and state and all season. She just works really hard on her game year round.”

Howard said Lauren Parramore, a junior, also competed at the state, providing the first time Woodland’s girls team has been represented by two individual golfers at state competition.

“We were very fortunate to have two girls qualify at state,” he added. “Both gained some valuable experience by competing at this level, and we believe it can only help them next season.”

The coach said it wasn’t just a good season for Knuchel and Parramore, who are both members of the school golf team.

“Our girls golf team had never made it out of the region until this year,” he said. “This team made it for the first time to the sectional tournament. It just missed qualifying for state by one stroke.”

Woodland finished ninth and only the top eight teams advanced to state.

Howard said the team has been steadily improving the past few years because of community support as well as the work ethic of its players.

“Four years ago Woodland Hills started letting our girls and boys golf teams practice there,” he said. “Bryan Evans with the course was instrumental in getting that started.

“I really feel like that is the No. 1 key to the success our kids are having now,” he said. “I feel like another key is how hard they work.”

He said prior to that time, the golf teams had practiced in fields in back of the Woodland school campus.