Page develops passion for golf from parents and grandpa at young age

Chris Bowie
cbowie@boonvilledailynews.com
Boonville senior Brayden Page watches the ball after hitting a long putt during a match his sophomore year at Hail Ridge Golf Course in Boonville.  Teammate Mason Hage (far right) lines his ball up for a putt on the same hole.

Boonville senior Brayden Page knew all along that golf was going to be his sport in high school.

Although Page looked at playing other sports such as basketball and baseball at Boonville High School, he knew from his upbringing while playing golf with his mom, dad and grandpa Dean that he was destined to follow a little white ball around a golf course.

As it turned out, Page made the right choice while cracking the starting lineup as a sophomore and one year later qualifying for the sectional tournament.

But to Page, golf was a lot more than hitting a white ball down the fairway or chipping the ball into a tiny cup.

He said he liked the game because it was very laid back and you can take it about as serious as you want. “If you want to get better, you can get better,”?Page said. “You can succeed individually as well as a team.”

Page should know. While playing the No. 5 spot as a sophomore, which is another story, Page moved up to No. 2 spot as a junior and was right on par to battle teammate Jake Horst for the No. 1 position this spring until the season was canceled.

A three-time all-conference selection for the Pirates, Page was also an all-district medalist his junior year.

However after losing his final year of eligibility playing golf at Boonville High School, Page decided it was all time to hang up the clubs for now.

Page will attend State Fair Community College this coming fall on the A-plus program and then transfer to Columbia College to finish out his schooling.

He said right now he has no plans to play golf at the collegiate level.

“I don’t think I will ever get back into playing it for school or anything,” Page said. “I?think the most I will end up doing is just going out and playing for fun in weekend tournaments with my dad or mom, but that’s about as competitive as I will get with it. I?may also go out and play every now and then with Jake (Horst).”

With a stroke average of 43.1 for 18 holes as a junior, Page was on target to surpass those numbers this season along with Horst and Grady Kay, another teammate.

Page, Horst and Kay have played together since their freshmen season at Boonville High School.

Page said days before the season was canceled, he and Horst were talking about how excited they were to get the season start and everything.

“Honestly, I think the most disappointing part was how we had just talked about how much fun we were going to have this season,”?Page said. “We also talked about all the different hotels we got to go to. I’m also going to miss all the practices with the team. That’s probably one of the most fun parts about it, just going out and playing each day together. That’s probably when we had some of the most fun. That and the bus rides.”

Although Page knows he can’t get his final year of golf back, he still remembers his best game. It was his junior year in the Sedalia Tournament. While shooting a career best score of 79, Page said in the same tournament the Pirates thought they ended up in third place but wound up placing first.

“The started calling all the names and called third place and it wasn’t us, so we all got a little upset and started walking off and then coach is like hold on and then they called first place and it was Boonville and everyone started freaking out,” Page said.

Of course there were other notable moments in Page’s career. Along with making the all-conference team as a junior and placing in the district tournament to move on to sectionals, Page said another career highlight for him was hitting the clubhouse and still getting par.

He said it was a home match but still can’t remember who they were playing at the time.

“All I remember is that it was my sophomore year and it was one of those moments that you would have to see it to believe it,” Page said.

Not bad considering that Page started out playing golf with his mom’s clubs. Of course he finally got his own set, which was right around 8 years of age.

Page also transitioned nicely from the driving range to beating his mom in a competitive game of golf.

“I think I’m best when I am hitting with my irons,”?Page said. “I just feel like that’s the club I’m best with. Other than that it’s a little rough, especially when it comes to driving the ball. I cannot control it at all. It goes a long way but you don’t know which way it’s going.”

One thing is for certain, Page’s goal had the Pirates had a season was to qualify for the state tournament. He said he didn’t really care if he did well at state, but he just wanted to get there.

Page would also liked to get his first-two years of golf back. He said he would have taken it a lot more seriously and practiced a lot more so that he could have been a decent contributor to the team.

“I definitely would like to get my sophomore year back,” Page said. Instead of helping the team out at the conference tournament, I went on a cruise instead. I was No. 5 at the time and it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway, but I?felt bad because that was probably our best shot at conference and I wasn’t there."

Page more than made up for it his junior year by making all-conference. But had he known then what he knows now, he would have played for the Pirates and coach VanderLinden.

“I loved coach VanderLinden,”?Page said. “I?had him for basketball in middle school so I?knew him pretty well. He was like one of our friends out there. It was fun having him as a coach. He was just a cool guy.”

Page said he will miss his friends on the course and talking to everybody, but knows it’s not going to be the same.

Not only did Page lose a final season in golf, he also lost hanging out with his friends at school.

The good news, however, is that Page will get to hang out with his friends one final time during commencement on Friday, June 12 on Gene Reagan field at the BHS Sports Complex.

Page said he wasn’t really upset when they had to cancel everything because there really wasn’t much anybody could do about it.

“The only thing I’m disappointed in is the six tickets rule,” Page said. “We have seven people that I wanted to bring so obviously one of them is going to have to sit it out, which kind of stinks, but I guess it is what it is. But I’m glad they have something figured out.

“It was just super weird, especially after we left because you never really thought that would be the last time everyone saw each other in school. It just now recently donned on me that we are already into summer. It’s crazy and the whole year just flew by at that point.”

So what has Page been doing since March? He said working is really about it along with riding his dirt bike and hanging out with friends. “I fish maybe every now and then,”?Page said.