AuBuchon will play less this season

Aaron AuBuchon has made a major impact on Capital Region golf ever since he moved here from Kansas i

Aaron AuBuchon has made a major impact on Capital Region golf ever since he moved here from Kansas in 2003.

He already has several area major championships under his belt, including the Troy Invitational and the Eagle Crest Shootout, and he teamed with Jim Mueller to dominate the Stadium Classic, one of the best partner events on the local schedule, in both 2005 and 2006. Next month, he will make his third appearance on the area amateur all-star team that will face the local pros in the annual Gazette Cup.

But the 39-year-old former pro is looking to scale back his tournament competition to spend more time with his growing family.

The defending Saratoga County Amateur champion and his wife, Sandi, have two young children in 2-year-old Averie and Chase, who will celebrate his first birthday Aug. 24. AuBuchon recently moved from Saratoga Springs to Greenfield Center and switched his club affiliation from Saratoga National Golf Club to Saratoga Golf Polo. Averie already has a set of tiny golf clubs, and she has two favorite golfers, Tiger Woods and her father.

“Family is priority No. 1 for me,” he said. “I’m going to sit down with Sandi and try to work out my golf schedule for this year. I’m highly confident that I can play some of the tournaments that are scheduled during

the week, but I’ll probably limit my weekend tournaments to maybe one a month. Obviously, I’ll try to qualify for the State Amateur, because it’s being held locally [at Pinehaven Country Club] and the qualifier is at Eagle Crest, where I’ve had a lot of success since I came to this area.”

As a salesman for Genzyme, a biotech company that makes equipment for kidney patients on dialysis, AuBuchon used to do quite a bit of traveling, which also curtailed his golf activity, but with his new family obligations, he has changed his schedule.

“I don’t travel that much any more,” he said. “I don’t do overnights as much, maybe once a month, and the places I travel now, like Syracuse and Utica, are close enough that

I can set up my appointments and still be back in time to see my family that evening.”

AuBuchon was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kan., and he excelled at golf from an early age. He later became a two-time All-American at Pittsburg State.

“I turned professional out of college in 1992. I played on what they called the Spalding Space Coast Tour in Florida, and then I played on the Jordan Tour, which is now the Hooters Tour, in 1993. I had a group of local sponsors from Kansas who helped me fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a pro golfer.”

But AuBuchon quickly realized that pro golf is an extremely competitive sport.

“Even then, there were hundreds of great players out there on those tours. I put a lot of pressure on myself to play well, but the good thing is that I learned a lot. I’m glad it happened. After playing professionally on the mini tours for those two years, I was a better player overall.”

Currently, the strength of AuBuchon’s game is an outstanding chipping touch which enables him to get up and down from extremely difficult situations, but for most of his career, the driver was his bread and butter.

“I’ve struggled with my driver in 2005, 2006 and even most of 2007. I was hooking the ball a lot. Basically, I was hitting my

driver left for three and a half years, and it was very frustrating,” he said.

“But I picked up a new driver, the TaylorMade Burner, last July. Dick Bogdan put a new VST shaft in it, and now I’ve got my confidence back. I’ve always said that if I drive the ball well, the game gets easier for me. It takes less pressure from the iron game and from the short game when you can drive the ball straight.”

AuBuchon said he is looking forward to an outstanding 2008 season and hopes to successfully defend his Saratoga County Amateur title, which he won last year by three strokes over Marco Poccia of McGregor Links Country Club.

“I was in complete control of that tournament on the first day at Van Patten, and I played OK on the front nine at Saratoga National, but then I hit a few stray shots, and the tournament all of a sudden got a lot tighter. It’s pretty easy to make a few bogeys if you are not sharp at Saratoga National. You’ve got to keep it in the fairway there.”

After a long rain delay, AuBuchon wrapped up another major title. This year, the Saratoga County Amateur will be played June 13-14 at Ballston Spa Country Club.

“I haven’t seen the full 2008 schedule of events yet, but I’m pretty excited about the new season, and I’m hoping to play well.”

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