Pauls is first Blue Dragon golfer
to join the Hall of Fame
Grady Pauls considers himself to be a “boring” golfer.
Par after par after par … mix in some birdies and an occasional eagle … keep the ball in the fairway … avoid a three-putt like the plague and you have a round at or just below par … like Grady Pauls did time after time after time after time while a member of the Hutchinson Community College men’s golf team.
Consistent play while a Blue Dragon made him the most decorated golfer in program history. The results of that consistent play made him a member of the 2018 Quarterback Club Hall of Fame induction class.
Pauls is the first Blue Dragon golfer to go into the Quarterback Club Hall of Fame.
“I was just able to find my way around the golf course with lots of pars,” said Pauls, who played at Hutchinson in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons for head coach Chris Young. “I just kept the ball in play. You keep the ball in play; you give yourself a chance for birdies. You work your tail off at it. Lot’s of invisible hours on the driving range and on the putting green. Playing different games within yourself while you are on the course.”
Pauls’ resume while at Hutchinson is impressive and yet to be matched:
+ While he was the sixth golfer in team history to win a Jayhawk Conference individual championship, Pauls is the only Blue Dragon ever to do so twice, winning the 2006 and 2007 league titles.
+ He is the only Blue Dragon in team history to score at least one point in each of his conference-designated rounds.
+ He owns the Blue Dragon single-round record of 63 .
+ Pauls played 69 total rounds in two seasons with the Blue Dragons – He had 16 rounds under par and only five round of 80 or higher.
“One of the things that Grady has that others doesn’t, he knew how to work his way out of a funk,” Young said. “He was never a kid you had to beg to play or to motivate to keep going. He had the ‘it’ factor.”
Pauls came to Hutchinson from Hesston High School where he was a three-time state placer in what at that time was a loaded Class 3A field that included several Division I golfers. Playing against that gauntlet of golfers while in high school prepared him for life in the Jayhawk Conference.
When it came to conference tournaments, Pauls’ “boring” game was a perfect formula to be highly successful.
During Pauls’ time at Hutch, there were six designated golf tournaments. To score points as for individual consideration, a golfer must finish in the Top 10. Pauls placed no worse than seventh in his 12 combined league tournaments and finished fourth or higher 11 of 12 times, winning two tournaments.
During Pauls’ freshman season, he tied for third in the NJCAA District III championship. One year later he was third outright, only to watch his teammates win those individual titles.
There was nothing wrong with that from Pauls’ view.
“We had a fun group of guys. We were always wanting to play well for ourselves, but we were just as happy when one of our teammates did so as well,” Pauls said. “It’s fun winning conference, but when (Alex) Wasinger won regional, I remember that being more fun having the team do well.”
In two trips to the NJCAA Tournament, one round still bothers Pauls. His first round as a freshman, Pauls carded a 77 .
“You can’t win the tournament in round one, but you can sure lose it,” he recalled. “I went in putting way too much pressure on myself and I struggled. After that was done, I just relaxed and played and enjoyed being with the team. That helped me my sophomore year.”
He finished out that tournament with rounds of 72, 69 and 71 to finish tied for 58th. But he carried that into his sophomore trip to the national tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona. Pauls started off with a 69 and then in his “boring” fashion posted rounds of 72, 72 and 74 to tie for 12th and earn NJCAA third-team All-America honors and become Hutchinson’s first PING/NJCAA All-American as a second-team member.
Pauls’ individual success translated to team success as well as the Blue Dragons captured one Jayhawk Conference team championship, two Region VI championships and one NJCAA District III title. The 2006 Blue Dragons finished 12th at the NJCAA Championships and Pauls completed his Hutchinson career with a ninth-place team showing in 2007.
Pauls continued his career at Wichita State University.