When Live Oak High’s Paul Huber competed in the Blossom Valley League Golf Championships at Santa Teresa Golf Club on April 29, he wasn’t just playing for himself—he was playing for his school and his country.
“It was very important for me to represent my school and my country because I’m a foreign exchange student (from Germany),” the sophomore said. “I want to show the best side of Germany and wanted to give something back to my coaches and teammates who have been supporting me the whole season.”
On all those fronts, Huber made them proud. He shot a 9-over par 79 to tie for fourth place and advance to Tuesday’s Central Coast Section Regional at Laguna Seca. In the BVALs, Huber was one of the first ones to tee off, so he had to wait for two hours to see if he had qualified for CCS. It’s safe to say Huber was on pins and needles as the scores came in, knowing he had to finish in the top five to advance.
“It was very stressful because I really wanted to go to (Laguna Seca),” he said. “It’s something I really wanted to achieve. Having to sit there for two hours was kind of torture, but in the end, it all worked out.“
Huber admitted he didn’t exactly play his best and struggled with the windy conditions; however, he survived and advanced and that is what counts at this point. He converted a birdie on hole No. 11, which proved key to his round.
“That was quite important because it gave me the push I needed in the middle of the round to keep playing well,” he said. “It helped me to stay focused and go and try to get my best score. My final score could’ve been better, but there were some silly mistakes I made. I have to take away that and work on my game a little bit so I can have a good chance of making it to the next round.”
Huber is long off the tee, as he routinely out-drives his playing partners. Through years of hard work, Huber has solidified that aspect of his game.
“(The strength of my game) is definitely my drives,” he said. “I’m hitting it long and accurate. Basically every round I play a coach comes over and says, ‘Dang, you hit some long drives.’”
Huber said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time playing high school sports in America. Sports are a huge part of a school’s identity, eliciting pride and gathering people together as few things can. Huber, who is on a one-year exchange program, said he’ll miss the sports experience and everything it entails—hard work, camaraderie and team work—the most.
“I’m definitely going to be sad to go because of the high school spirit,” he said. “It’s something I’m really going to miss. We don’t have this (type of) high school spirit back home. We don’t really have sports (connected to the school)—they’re all in the clubs (travel ball teams). So in Germany, everyone is glad to get out of school and leave right away. Over here, I want to stay and practice for my sport. It’s a whole different atmosphere.”
Huber also said he’ll miss the diversity of the Bay Area and being able to mingle and talk with people from all different ethnic backgrounds.
“Here you have so many different influences, people from all over the world,” he said.
Huber started playing golf when he was 8 or 9, but was hesitant at first because there is a stigma attached to the game in Germany.
“Golf is basically what they call a nerd sport,” he said. “That’s pretty sad because it’s a great sport obviously. My dad was looking for a sport the whole family could do together, and I went out with him, tried it out and liked it.”
As Huber’s love for the game grew, so did the amount of hours he put into it. He joined a travel team and is on the range or course five to six times a week. In Germany, Huber usually got home from school around 5 p.m. before he had a small break to prepare for his club team practice.
“I’m always in quite a hurry,” he said.