■ Aurora native set for college golf at South Dakota
Danica Badura seemingly can’t miss right now on the golf course.
The South Dakota commit and 2020 Aurora grad won the Nebraska Girls Amateur at Scotts Bluff Country Club by one stroke over Lincoln’s Nicole Kolbas, Scottsbluff’s Emily Krzyzanowski and Omaha’s Katie Ruge. Badura shot a 75 July 8 for a two-day score of 150, a total of 6-over par for the tournament.
The lead changed hands several times during the final nine holes, but it was Badura who came out ahead of a three-way tie for second.
She was so locked into her round, in fact, she didn’t have any idea of how crazy the leaderboard looked.
“I really had no idea about how the other girls were scoring except for the one I was playing with (Kolbas),” Badura said. “We were going back and forth with each other. I could hear the cheers ahead of me so I knew they were doing well, but I really just wanted to keep the focus on myself.”
Badura took her first lead with a birdie on No. 6 then lead by a pair at the turn.
Even though Badura’s lead seemed safe, it was anything but. She bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12 as the lead vanished and changed hands.
Badura regained the lead with pars on her next five holes. She only made two birdies during the two-day tournament, but made no doublebogeys or worse.
Badura entered No. 18 at 5-over for the tournament with a one-shot lead over Kolbas, while the clubhouse lead sat at 7-over.
After missing the green, Badura pushed a par putt to within one yard and made a bogey putt to win the tournament.
Even as the round finished out and she headed to sign the scorecard, Badura still wasn’t 100 percent sure she had actually won the tournament.
“When I went over to scoring no one was really congratulating me so I wasn’t really sure that I had won,” she pointed out.
Earlier this summer, Badura won the Nebraska Junior PGA Championship in Beatrice. One week later, she took home the Nebraska Girls Match Play title in Oakland.
Since winning the Class B state golf tournament last fall, Badura has now become the sixth player to sweep the NGA’s two girls titles since the stroke play event began in 2001, and the first since Hannah Thiele in 2015.
For Badura, winning a variety of tournaments with different rules on different golf courses, the one thing that stuck out to her about her game was playing consistent golf.
“I would say I played really consistent through the summer,” Badura said. “I feel like my putter hasn’t rolled like I want it to this summer, but I’ve just made pars and have been able to get up and down.”
Badura won her first Nebraska Golf Association title in June with the girls match play championship, a win that was special for a variety of reasons.
Badura played a familiar foe in the finals, taking on Kolbas who was her partner in the final round of the girls amateur.
It was a hot start for the USD golf commit, winning four of six holes on the front to lead one-up through nine.
Badura charged ahead on the back, winning three of the first four before eventually closing it out on the 17th. She never once during the match play portion played the 18th.
“It’s really special and has come full-circle,” Badura said. “I played in my first junior tournament several years ago and I hated golf back then. My parents just continually encouraged me and to see how their support has led me to these moments is really amazing.”
While the match play format is still somewhat new to Badura, the challenges it presents make it something she really enjoys.
“It makes for a longer week and you have to really grind through it,” she said. “That was also my first major that I was playing in that I won so it was special to get that breakthrough.”
The pandemic has done little to slow Badura’s golf outings. Once things began to warm up in March, she and the rest of the Badura clan have been more than active on the course.
Badura is also planning to play in a few more tournaments before heading off to college next month, including the Nebraska women’s amateur, women’s match play and the Prairie Invitational.
“They’re all super competitive women’s events and at a higher level with more competition,” Badura said. “I’m looking forward to that.”
Once she completes the summer golf schedule, it’s off to Vermillion to join the South Dakota women’s golf team. As of now, there haven’t been any changes to the golf schedule, which is set to begin Sept. 5.
“I’m super excited. I’ve been looking forward to this since committing my junior year,” she said.