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Connor Brown, All-County Player of the Year

Union Grove junior Connor Brown chips onto the first green at Browns Lake Golf Course in Burlington May 3 during the Racine County Invitational. Brown, who advanced to the WIAA State Tournament and tied for 11th place, was voted the All-Racine County Player of the Year.

If you ask Connor Brown what his favorite part of the spring high school boys golf season was, the answer might not be what you would expect.

Consider the Union Grove High School junior set or tied at least a dozen school records, including shooting a 5-under-par 67 at the WIAA Division 1 Waukesha West Sectional.

Consider he qualified for the WIAA State Championships for the second straight year, shot 77-73—150 and tied for 11th place.

Consider he was voted the All-Racine County Player of the Year by the county’s coaches.

No, the highlight of the year for Brown was playing with his teammates throughout the season.

Don’t get Brown wrong — getting to state and finishing in the top 15 against the best prep players in the state was certainly a highlight — but his team, which wasn’t quite able to get past the Waukesha South Regional, meant a lot to him.

“Definitely, making it to state was a big one,” Brown said. “Having (junior) Nate (Koch) come with me (to the sectional) was fun and I had a fun time with my team.”

Brown’s rewriting of the Broncos records book included recording the best average for a season, 38.2 strokes per nine holes, which broke Eric Chambers’ record of 38.6 set last year.

Brown’s 67 broke Chambers’ record of 69 for low 18-hole score; Brown broke his own record of 76 for low score at state with a second-round 73 and broke Chambers’ record for low total score and place at state (150, tied for 11th).

Part of his success comes from his DNA. Brown’s father, Charlie, is the former head professional at the H.F. Johnson Park Golf Course and currently the first assistant pro at Geneva National in Lake Geneva. Charlie Brown was a three-time Wisconsin PGA Player of the Year (2003, 2005, 2006), the WPGA Player of the Decade for 2000-2009 and the 2015 WPGA Assistant Pro of the Year.

Connor said his dad didn’t push him to play golf. He also is a good baseball player and had to choose between the two sports as he entered high school, since both are played in the spring.

“My dad let me make up my own mind,” Connor said. “It was a tough decision between baseball and golf, but golf was a better fit than baseball.”

Mostly, Connor’s success can be attributed to the work he put into his game last summer. He’s played competitive golf since his freshman year, but last summer increased his practice time by quite a bit over the previous years,

“I stayed a lot after practice,” Brown said. “I would hit extra balls on the range, anything to get just a little bit of an edge.”

Broncos coach Eric Swanson noticed Brown’s work ethic as well.

“Connor put in a lot of more time during the offseason working on his game than he has in the past, and it showed,” Swanson said. “His goal was to get back to state and to play better there than he did last year.

“His focus and determination during regionals, sectionals, and state was incredible. He’s a competitor and when he competes against the best, he tends to rise to the occasion.”

His season continued July 8 and 9 at the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin College Showcase at Whistling Straits in Haven, where he shot a second-round 74, second-best in the second round, and tied for ninth place.

As for next year, Brown, who has had a few colleges contact him, wants to make his third straight trip to state, and hopefully take his team there for the first time as well.

“I want to make it to state again and I want the team to be stronger,” said Brown, who returns with Koch for their senior seasons. I think we can play better.”

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