Aurora golfer Danica Badura has known this moment — the 2018 girls state golf tournament — was coming since last May when she got a pressure-packed message from older brother Caleb.
“He told me I had to come back and win the state tournament the next two years,” Danica said Sunday afternoon while contemplating what the weather would do to the championships that being today across three sites. “He wants me to keep it in the family.”
Badura will get her chance starting — hopefully — this morning at Quail Run Golf Course in Columbus. The same place where her older brother won last year. Class A will play at Norfolk Country Club while Class C will play at Rivers Edge Golf Club in North Platte.
Golf has been a family affair for the Badura’s for as long as Danica can remember. She said she picked up a club when she was 3 or 4 years old but didn’t really take to the game full-time until middle school.
Brother Caleb was a two-time Class B state champion for the Huskies on their 2017 state title team that was coached by their father, Craig. A win for Danica would make her and Caleb the first ever brother-sister combo to win golf championships in state history.
“I was such a perfectionist growing up that I didn’t like it much,” she admitted. “I would hit a bad shot, start crying and want to quit. But my parents really encouraged me.”
Her Aurora “coach” in the fall is her uncle Rick Bell, brother to mom, Jen. He, jokingly, stays out of the way.
“She’s got a swing coach and she plays enough that I just try to watch,” Bell said. “She brings out the best in our other girls. When they see her practice habits and her work ethic they all want to do well.”
Last week, Badura continued her unbeaten 2018 season with a 15-shot win — she shot 74 — over Adams Central’s Haley O’Dey. Only five players in the whole field, won by team champion York, shot better than 100. The Huskies also qualified as a team taking second place, with teammate Sierra Wilbon earning a seventh-place medal.
Danica Badura said that this fall has been an extension of a summer that had her and family traveling throughout the state and region for tournaments, while also qualifying for the Girls Junior PGA Championship in Kentucky.
“My work in the summer helped tremendously (for this fall),” the junior said. “Winning the PGA qualifier in Fremont was maybe the best I played all summer and then getting into the PGA in Kentucky was a great experience.”
It allowed her to expand on a goal to not lose a Class B meet from her sophomore year on. She lost three times last year, the last one at state to Scottsbluff senior Shelby Poynter by three shots. Her other two losses came to third place finisher Kendra Placke of Seward.
But this year, so far so good. The only thing left to worry about is if they will even tee it up in the next two days given forecasts for heavy rain both today and Tuesday.
“It’s like this every year it seems like so you are just ready for anything,” Badura said. “But, you do have to prepare for it to possibly be an 18-hole tournament.”
Bell said Badura and the rest of the Huskies have to be prepared.
“Sometimes in a situation like our forecast, it’s the teams that embrace the elements that do the best,” Bell said. “If you can just be okay playing in it and not complaining under your breath you might have an advantage on everyone else.”
Badura is set to tee off in the final group today at 11:20 a.m. with Omaha Duchesne senior Anna Boor (sixth at state last year) and Elkhorn freshman Emily Karmazin.
Follow all the action of the Class B state tournament with real-time scores from the NSAA here: CLASS B RESULTS.
Seven players broke 80 in district qualifying on Monday and Tuesday last week with Omaha Marian senior Jalea Culliver posting a 73 at Miracle Hills as the low score. Marian also had the low team district score of 327.
Columbus’ Aspen Luebbe had a 75 to win the A-3 at Elks Country Club in her hometown. Lincoln SW freshman Katie Strickland shot a 76 to win the A-1 at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln, tying with Omaha Westside freshman Kaitlyn Hanna.
Strickland was the Nebraska Golf Association’s Girls Junior Amateur champion this summer and finished second at the Junior Match Play.
Follow all the action of the Class A state tournament with real-time scores from the NSAA here: CLASS A RESULTS.
Ogallala looks dead set on achieving their third straight Class C title in North Platte, as the Indians shot a 351 team score in districts on their home course at Crandell Creek in Ogallala.
Senior Harley Hiltibrand has the lowest district score in all classes with a 71, and three other Indians also medaled for Ogallala.
Lincoln Christian’s Taylor Van Ostrand won the C-1 with a 77, Mitchell’s Kenzey Kanno was second to Hiltibrand in Ogallala with a 77 and Cozad freshman Lynzi Becker won the C-4 district on her hike course with an 80.
Follow all the action of the Class C state tournament with real-time scores from the NSAA here: CLASS C RESULTS.
Some teams from distance had arrived at their host town by Saturday, NSAA executive director and golf administrator Jon Dolliver said. That doesn’t make his job any easier given forecasts for rain up to five inches in the forecast for Columbus and Norfolk through Tuesday evening.
One thing is certain, the championship will not be canceled. And, each location will work to determine what is best for competitors; meaning if it’s a go in North Platte they will go.
“We will not cancel the event, and we will work with each community and course to get things played,” Dolliver said. “That could mean moving it up to a week if we have to do that.”
Additionally, the NSAA manual calls for an 18-hole event should any day be lost to weather. A meet at a later date would mean a shortened event, even in perfect conditions.
“It’s not ideal to have to send teams home and bring them back, but there is a chance we may need to do that based on volunteers, course conditions after the rain and NGA official and course availability,” he said.
Feature Photo Courtesy of Danica Badura