He’s kept an active schedule on the course, not only at Etowah, but in a series of junior tournaments
“I’ve played since I was a little kid,” said Budd, a rising senior. “I started playing in tournaments when I was 6. I’ve played it for a while. I’ve played golf my whole life, so I’m very relaxed — maybe too relaxed sometimes.”
Budd maintained a scoring average of 74 this season and was Etowah’s No. 1 player for the third straight year.
This year, he took things up a notch.
Budd brought his best against the top golfers in Cherokee County and the surrounding area. Among his highlights were shooting 69 at the Bentwater Invitational, leading Etowah in scoring average and helping the Eagles reach the state championship for the first time since 2010.
For his accomplishments this season, Budd is the 2014 Cherokee Tribune Boys Golfer of the Year.
“Overall, I was pretty happy with my high school season,” he said. “I made a big improvement from my sophomore year to my junior year. I expect my senior year to be a lot better than my junior year, but I’m not going to put too many high expectations on myself. I’m going to go out and play golf.”
Budd isn’t the only one who’s noticed the improvement. Coaches, both on the high school and college levels, have started to pay attention to him.
“Division I schools are looking at him,” Etowah coach Phil Dutko said.
Playing in college is definitely a goal for Budd. He’s heard from several college coaches, but he has yet to receive an offer.
“All of the tournaments that I play in during the summer give me an introduction to what I will see when I go to college,” Budd said. “I know I’m not playing at the college level yet, but the college coaches all attend the junior events that I do during the summer. High school is fun, but I don’t think it’s the most important thing that I will play in. the events I did in June and will play in July are a lot more important as far as getting noticed.”
Because he has attended junior golf events for more than 10 years, Budd said he usually knows what to expect. He tries to balance himself somewhere between focused on relaxed, but that isn’t always easy.
“There is a point of balance in golf,” Budd said. “I’m still working to find that balance.”
Looking toward next season, Budd wants to win a state title before he leaves Etowah. He believes it’s not too lofty of a goal for the Eagles, and he’s expected to once again be the team’s No. 1 player.
“I’m looked at as a leader, on the golf course and off the golf course, for my high school team,” Budd said. “I know I have to rely on myself, and I know my team does, too.”