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Lake City's Windhorst Knudsen has vision to be state's best

Jordana Windhorst Knudsen is just a sophomore, but the Lake City golf standout has a section championship, an individual state runner-up finish, and a team state championship already under her belt. Now she's working hard on the mental aspect of her game, hoping to add more championships to her resume.

JORDANA.01.jpg
Jordana Windhorst Knudsen works on her swing at a golf simulator last week. The sophomore standout helped Lake City to its first-ever team state championship last spring and she finished as the state individual runner-up.
Steve Randgaard / contributed

LAKE CITY — Jordana Windhorst Knudsen is the reigning Section 1AA medalist.

She was the runner-up at the Class AA state meet last spring as a freshman, helping her Lake City Tigers girls golf team win the first-ever state championship in program history.

She won multiple Minnesota Jr. PGA events last summer and she placed in the top 20 at the prestigious Minnesota State Open, in a field loaded with past, present and future Division I college golfers.

It’s a resume that many golfers dream of.

Yet for Windhorst Knudsen, it’s just a beginning. The standout sophomore is far from satisfied.

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Along with juniors Emma Berge and Brooke Bee, sophomore Ella Matzke and freshman Mattie Mears, Windhorst Knudsen is one of five Lake City golfers back this spring from last year’s team that breezed to a state championship by 44 shots.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Windhorst Knudsen, who shot rounds of 75-82—157 to finish second at the state meet last spring. “To have a state championship behind us … going through that whole experience was great, to think about the team aspect and us all being there and going through it together.”

Class AA State Golf
Lake City’s Jordana Windhorst Knudsen takes a shot on the 18th hole during the final day of the 2019 Class AA girls golf state tournament on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan. It was the first state tournament for Windhorst Knudsen, now a sophomore who is considered one of the favorites to win a state title this spring.
Post Bulletin file photo / Andrew Link

After an outstanding spring and a strong summer of play, Windhorst Knudsen was still looking for ways to grow her game, constantly driven by the thoughts of another team championship, as well as a state individual title and eventually a college career.

So she turned to Vision54, a company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, that focuses solely on the mental aspect of golf. The company’s mission statement reads, in part, “we teach the human skills to complement your technique and enhance your performance and enjoyment of the game.”

Windhorst Knudsen follows a three-step process for every shot she takes in every round she plays. She puts each shot, each swing, into three mental boxes.

The first box, pre-shot, is a “thinking box,” where she visualizes the shot she’s about to make and steps up to the ball confidently.

The second box is the “play box,” or the actual shot itself, where she focuses on having a consistent tempo to her swing.

The final box, or the “memory box” is her post-shot reaction, where she positively reinforces the things that went well during the process.

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“I have another whole summer (of events) lined up that I’m really excited about,” she said. “I played super solid last summer and I did the Vision54 training that has really helped me focus on my mental state.
“It’s trained me to get away from thinking so much about my swing. It’s really helped me decrease my scores.”

Lake City coach Steve Randgaard has worked with Windhorst Knudsen for nearly a decade and said, even when she was in Kindergarten or first grade, he could see something in her swing and her approach to the game that made him think she could be right up there among the best in a long line of standout golfers to pass through the Tigers program.

He said Windhorst Knudsen’s mental toughness is and will be a key factor in her success. Randgaard noted that Perham’s Mallory Balka defeated Windhorst Knudsen by nine shots at state last year, yet the Lake City star turned the tables on Balka all three times they matched up in events last summer.

“I know what her goals are in the next three years, to win individual and team titles,” Randgaard said. “She just has that drive and desire to do that. When she puts her mind to it she really is a focused and driven person.

“She has the confidence and knows she can do that, and the great thing about her is the team success is probably even more important to her.”

Jason Feldman is the sports editor of the Post Bulletin. In addition to managing the four-person sports staff at the PB, Jason covers high school football, golf and high school and junior hockey. Readers can reach Jason at 507-281-7430 or jfeldman@postbulletin.com.
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