VALPARAISO | Kelly Grassel used one word to describe her putting performance Saturday afternoon.
"Ridiculous," Grassel said. "It seemed like I was making putts all day."
Grassel's ability to finish was the key to a record 3-over-par 75 at the Valparaiso Sectional.
Times No. 1 Chesterton edged No. 2 Valparaiso 364-367 for the crown, helping the Trojans take their fourth straight title. New Prairie edged Hobart 412-416 for the final qualifying spot for the LaPorte Regional.
Grassel's putting prowess at the Valparaiso Country Club was on display on the par-3 15th. Putting off the fringe close to 30 feet from the hole, the Chesterton sophomore deftly rolled a putt that finally made its way to the hole.
"I was just working for a par," said Grassel, who broke her own sectional record by a stroke. "The crowd started to cheer. I looked around and thought, 'That was interesting.'"
It was one of two birdies on the day for Grassel, who also recalled another 20-footer and a few from 8-10 feet to save par.
Grassel admitted that other parts of her game weren't on par with her putting.
"My chipping wasn't that great," she said, "but I just knew I could save things with my putter."
Grassel proved to be the difference against No. 2 Valparaiso. Through golfers 2-5, both teams were tied. Grassel's three-stroke edge over freshman Harley Dubsky gave Chesterton the win.
"She's just an awesome player," Chesterton coach Dale Hewitt said of Grassel. "I knew it was going to be close today. I told people it would be by less than five strokes."
While the Vikings finished second, coach Bill Miller was pleased with the result.
"At some tournaments, we were finishing 30 strokes (behind Chesterton)," said Miller, whose team made a late charge to advance to state last year. "It's nice to do all of these things in the regular season, winning tournaments, but I want our team to play its best down the stretch."
South Central's Sydney Bailey (82), Marquette's Mary-Katherine Slattery (90) and Portage's Sarah Dienes (93) took the three individual qualifying spots.