This week, Borger High School senior golfer Will Paulsell will begin his final tournament as a high school golfer by taking part in the 3A State Tournament at Roy Kizer Golf Course in Austin.
The trip marks the second time the Borger golfer will have competed at the state tournament. Yet it will be the first time since 2008 the heralded golfer has had the opportunity to compete for the state title.
Back in 2008, Paulsell made his presence known on the area high school golf scene as a freshman, winning the district title and earning that first trip to the state tournament.
Looking back at his freshman year, Paulsell said, â€śI wasnâ€™t expecting to have that kind of year at all so it was nice. I did well at the district tournament that year. However, my first round at regionals wasnâ€™t good at all. Somehow I was able to make it up on the second day in order to be a medalist.â€ť
On that first trip to state, Paulsell tied for 15th place with the senior saying that the experience at the state tournament was new and fun and in a way really helped the young golfer learn how to handle his nerves in tournaments he competes in each year.
With the early success it would be easy to draw the conclusion that Paulsell came from a family that spent numerous hours on the links and somewhere there is a home video of a young Will swinging a putter on a green.
But the truth is, outside of his grandfather, Paulsell said not many others in his family play the game very often and it wasnâ€™t until his seventh grade year that a love for the game of golf started to develop.
Paulsell said, â€śMy granddad had taken me with him a time or two when I was younger and I really didnâ€™t like it. But when I was in seventh grade, I started playing with some of my friends and realize I was getting pretty good at it when I was doing well in junior tournaments.â€ť
While Paulsell continued to have success in high school golf tournaments over the next three years, a trip back to the state tournament eluded him during his sophomore and junior years. This proved to the golfer that earning a trip back to Austin was going to be harder than he though.
On trying to get back to state, Paulsell said, â€śIt has been frustrating trying to get back to state. For some reason at regionals my sophomore and junior years I would have one bad round that would ultimately leave me just missing out.â€ť
There is no question that going into this year Paulsell still had his eye on getting back to state.
However, the senior found himself leading a talented group on the Borger Golf team that is considered one of the top ten squads in the state all season.
With the young golfers, Paulsell said, â€śThe main thing I tried to do was keep them from getting too nervous when they played. All year I knew we had the capability to be really good but we just all needed to be able to play our game and not let our nerves get the best of us.â€ť
Spending time as part of the team is one of the biggest highlights for Paulsell the past four years. So when the team came up just short of earning a trip to state, the senior took it pretty hard.
Paulsell said, â€śWe had worked hard all season and I know we are good enough to be there. So it still upsets me now that we werenâ€™t able to make it to state as a team.â€ť
Despite the team missing out on the trip to Austin, there is no question that Paulsellâ€™s teammates are behind their senior leader to do well at the state tournament.
Roy Kizer is the same course Paulsell competed in as a freshman, so there is some familiarity as far as how the course plays out.
Paulsell said, â€śThe course has a lot of sand and water but the fairways are pretty wide open.â€ť
With the defending state champion in the field, Paulsell knows the competition for the top spot will be tough. But the senior feels if he can just keep the ball on the fairways and make his putts then there is an optimism that the Borger golfer can find himself towards the top of the leader board.
Round one of the 3A State Tournament will begin around 8:00 a.m. on Thursday with round two taking place on Friday.