Pressure? Not a word in the Aurora golf dictionary

It’s a good thing there’s plenty of time over the summer to make room in the Aurora Sports Complex for new championship banners, because it’s filling up fast.
The Aurora boys golf team capped off an impressive 2016-17 school year sports calender by winning the Class B team championship, adding a second banner for the Huskies in the span of five days.
Directly off the heels of the Aurora girls track championship May 20, the Husky golf squad turned in two of the best rounds of golf you’ll ever see, posting a two-day score of 605 to win gold. Those two teams join the Aurora girls cross country team, which won the title back in the fall.
The Husky golf team winning the team championship really is an interesting story. Were they really one of the best teams in Class B all year? Did they sneak up and steal the trophy from someone?
Here’s the thing -- the Huskies have shown flashes of being able to do what they did at Highlands all year long. The problem was, however, at no point all year long did all five golfers play up to their potential. In the state tournament, that’s exactly what happened.
Over the course of the year, the lowest Aurora finished in any team standing was seventh in Beatrice, and that was without the majority of the heavy hitters playing. If you eliminate Beatrice, the highest the team ranked in any event this year was third.
The main question that has been and probably will bug me for some time is how and why the pressure never got to these Huskies? There was never a Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters moment. Aurora coach Craig Badura couldn’t fathom it, either.
“It’s weird. I don’t know if it’s because we have fun in practice and make competitive drills fun with some trash talking,” Badura explained. “That type of practice fits these guys. They don’t overthink things and are very experienced.”
I couldn’t understand it. I asked all five guys the same variation of the question about feeling any type of pressure hanging on their shoulders.
“We were just like normal joking around and having a good time as a rowdy bunch,” Alex Kubik said.
Some talked about feeling pressure right before teeing off that second day or even Caleb Badura talking about the pressure of knowing he had to shoot a low number to win.
Ryan Goertzen shot one of the best rounds of his life on the first day, finishing with an 81. Not any knock against him, but he’s had his rounds this year where he’s been good, and others where I’m sure he wished he was anywhere but on the golf course.
I can’t even imagine the kind of pressure he had to have felt going into the second day after the round of his life, knowing his team was counting on him to produce another one of those rounds to secure the title. It wasn’t as pretty as the first, but he did what he needed to keep the Huskies in charge.
I heard all the stories about those guys laughing, having a good time, blaring the music and even trash talking each other. Now I’m all about throwing around some words, but with your teammates as you try and win a state title? That’s ice water in the veins, my friend.
It wasn’t pressure so much as it was those guys having fun. They do that a lot.
A prime example of that was watching Kubik walk up the 18th fairway in front of a huge gallery. Several of his teammates waved to him in a goofy sort of way, like friends do. Kubik returned that same, goofy, hey dudes wave. He wasn’t feeling any pressure about finishing the round. He was having fun.
Those who know me understand that I’m very superstitious. It’s a disease and I’ve accepted it.
However, so were the Husky golfers. Talking with Badura afterward, he told the guys to do everything the same -- wear the same clothes, keep the same routine. The routine was almost mirrored and so were the team scores -- 300 and 305.
“I think that today’s 305 was a little better than yesterday’s 300 with the way they tucked the pins,” Badura said. “I told the guys to get ready for that.”
After winning the state tournament, am I convinced that Aurora is above and beyond the best team in Class B? Not quite. Did they take advantage of a course that was seemingly built for them and play lights out? You betcha.
“I feel like I’m in a dream and someone is going to pinch me and wake me up,” Badura said.
RICHARD RHODEN can be reached at sports@hamilton.net

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