Despite occasional struggles during the regular season, the Waubonsie Valley boys golf team was able to maintain their swing, eventually securing a second-place finish at the DVC tournament and qualifying as a team to sectionals after a third-place regional finish. Once again the key contributor to the Warriors was junior Salil Khanduja, who not only won a third straight regional medal as an individual but also qualified for state for a third straight season and took home a state medal as well after third place performance.
“It’s a great experience in that environment in a competitive and not in the competitive scope as well it’s probably of the more fun tournaments to have throughout the season.”
Khanduja not only spent his junior season playing with the Waubonsie Valley boys, he also competed in numerous tournaments including the Illinois PGA Open back in August on various out of state tourneys that actually prevented Salil from competing for the green and gold the opening week of the season. All of those high level tournaments helped the Warrior to a better approach on the local courses.
“I think that the experience of playing in those tournaments throughout the and getting comfortable being in pressure situations totally affected the better how I did in the tournament because I wasn’t really that nervous.”
At the start of the back nine on the second day at state, his swings really began to show off all the hard work. On holes 10, 11 and 12 he eagled and birdied twice to jump to the top of the individual leaderboard. He did have a few tough breaks the rest of the way, but he finished his round with a score of 75 on day two and 147 overall. That resulted in a third place medal. A proud accomplishment for Khanduja and one of the best state performances in school history.
“At the end of the day that’s golf everything can’t always go your way and you can say the same thing on the first three holes like I made some decently long putts and if you look at the make percentage things went my way on my way.”
Khanduja joins the group of Will Troy, Jason Marrs, Alec Meyer and Thomas O’Bryan as Waubonsie All-State golfers, while O’Bryan remains as our lone area golfer to capture an individual state title, which he won back in 2010. Head coach Eric Flodberg has had the privilege to watch these Warriors succeed and watching Khanduja’s success add another milestone.
“That’s kind of our little Mount Rushmore of great players right now and Salil is definitely deserving of being a part of the greats. We can still sit there and look at all of the accomplishments that Salil already achieved and he still has one more year left which is going to be a great year but also a sad because that’s kind of going to be our last hurra.h”
His Waubonsie career isn’t over yet as he and many other key team contributors will return in the fall of 2023 with high expectations. With the success he had this year there is no doubt Khanduja will find himself back at the Den at Fox Creek for his final year.
“I’m so excited I think, I’ve always looked up to the seniors on the team and it makes me feel good that I’m now that senior leader on the team that other freshman and other incoming younger kids can look up to because without my senior class when I was a freshman, I don’t know how good of a golfer I would be just from their support.”
Khanduja and the rest of his Warriors are already excited to show the state what they can do next fall.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.