Nick Bator of Drury was at his best when the pressure was on. While some struggle when the spotlight is brightest, Bator actually prefers that.
"The less I think about the round, the better I do," Bator said. "That's almost always the case. The two rounds I actually had pressure, I did better in. I didn't think that much."
The senior was referring to the final two rounds of the season he played. Those were the Western Mass. Division II championship, held at Cranwell in Lenox, and the Division II state championship, held at Crumpin Fox in Bernardston.
Bator shot a 79 at Cranwell, allowing him to qualify for the state event. Once there, he carded an 83 at a tough course.
"The practice round was tough," Bator said of Crumpin Fox. "That course was much different, it was much more narrow. It was really tough.
Especially in my mind, I didn't need to win it. I kind of went out there, took my time, and enjoyed it. And I didn't do too bad."
One of the top moments of the season for Bator came in October. He registered a 77 at the Berkshire Classic at Stockbridge Golf Club, earning a first-place finish. He sealed the victory by two strokes with the six-over final score.
Overall, Drury coach Don Dagnoli pointed out Bator's all-around solid game in what makes him such a great player, but Dagnoli said it's especially Bator's long tee shots that put him in such a good position on each hole.
"I would say he's very long off the tee," Dagnoli said. "He puts himself in play with a great tee ball. He has a great swing and his length is really what sets up the rest of his game for him."
Bator agreed with Dagnoli's assessment of his tee shots. Bator also added that he is very comfortable putting, so he said the tee shots put him in a position where he doesn't have to try to hit long iron shots each and every hole.
"Driving the ball farther helps a lot in most situations," Bator said. "I've always been pretty good with my short game, so I don't like to rely on the middle shots. If I can hit it long, and chip it on, it's a great help."
After the regular season was complete, Bator needed a strong effort in the Western Mass. Division II championship if he wanted to continue his season at states the next week. It was held on familiar territory, Cranwell, where he shot the aforementioned 79.
"Cranwell has a low par but the course is really tough," Bator said. "Breaking 80, even though it was 10-over, is still an accomplishment."
Bator finished his senior year with a Berkshire Classic trophy, a top-five finish at Western Mass., and a strong effort at states.
"Overall, he had a great senior year," Dagnoli said. "I was proud of the way he represented Drury High School at the Classic. Then his performance at Western Mass. was memorable. He was very close to having a great round there."