Raman Luthra is perfectly content with his place in the golfing world.
That place is at the top of the amateur golf landscape in Western New York.
Luthra, a 28-year-old from East Amherst, finished the 2012 Buffalo District Golf Association season with a commanding victory in the points race, earning the top spot with 1,455, nearly double that of any other golfer.
“It’s great. It was certainly the goal at the start of the year,” Luthra said. “Everyone wants to win the points title. I think I played pretty well early. They gave me the momentum to know it was a realistic opportunity. Probably right before the District [individual championship], I knew if I didn’t do anything stupid, I had it locked up.”
Kim Kaul, who earned a commanding 10-stroke victory in the BDGA Women’s Individual Championship, won the women’s points total in a tight race with Julie Murphy of Brookfield, 885-795.
Luthra left no doubt he had the best amateur season in Buffalo, with victories in the BDGA’s Mid-Amateur, Match Play and Individual Championship tournaments.
Despite that sustained run of success, Luthra’s not interested in pursuing a professional career. He wouldn’t want the stress.
“I think there’s no doubt that it helps, knowing that you’re never going to take this to a level outside of being a competitive amateur golfer,” he said. “There’s really no pressure. What you shoot that day is what you shoot. You know you’re a good player. It doesn’t change.”
Luthra didn’t always have that approach. He admits that when he played collegiately at George Washington, a bad round would mess with his head.
“If I played bad I’d be thoroughly upset,” he said, “now I try to take it for what it is and move on.”
Luthra said he’ll play a best-ball tournament in Florida in February with a friend, but other than that has no other set playing plans over the winter, aside from working on his short game.
“It’s streaky like anything else, so I made a goal to try and focus on having a complete short game all the time,” he said. “It’s something you can continue to practice. I felt like when my short game was really good, I would never shoot above 73. The few poor rounds I had were around the short game. You just try to get better every year.”
Luthra, a member at Crag Burn, said he’s not above playing some cold rounds in November. He shouldn’t have a problem finding a competitive partner, either. Six of the top 10 finishers in the points race come from the East Aurora course, including third-place finisher Chris Covelli of Buffalo.
Matt Stasiak of Fox Valley was the runner-up to Luthra with 757 points.
Kaul, one of the most decorated female athletes in Western New York, is a 2012 inductee of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. She plays out of Gowanda Country, where she had won 11 straight club championships before this year (she didn’t compete because she was out of town.)
Kaul coaches modified volleyball and softball at Orchard Park, and this year for the first time will be the varsity girls bowling coach.
Last month, she competed in the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa. It was the fourth time in five tries the 54-year-old has qualified for that national tournament.
“It’s gratifying. It’s not my major goal, winning tournaments is, but that comes with it,” Kaul said of the points title. “There is some really good young talent and you have to stay on top of your game.”
On top of her BDGA schedule, Kaul also plays in the competitive Women’s Golf Association of Western New York, which combines players from Buffalo and Rochester, as well as a state tournament schedule.
Buffalo Golf Club dinner
The Buffalo Golf Club will complete the celebration of its 100th anniversary with a dinner Oct. 27 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner.
The club, which was formed in 1912 and whose home course is Grover Cleveland, is extending invitations to all current and past members, who are encouraged to bring any BGC-related items they may have to share. A table filled with memorabilia from past years including pictures, bag tags, score cards and tournament books, will be on display.
The cost is $50 and includes dinner, drinks and gratuity. Contact Paul Andruczyk (662-3459) or club president James Burzynsk (774-0484 or 545-0972) for more information, or visit them at www.bgcgolfclub.com. The deadline to purchase tickets is Oct. 22.
• Katz, Stasiak and Covelli had all entertained the idea of competing in the PGA Tour’s qualifying school, but said in separate text messages to The News that they are delaying those plans.
Covelli is entertaining some job opportunities that would allow him to continue to play competitively at the amateur level. He said he wouldn’t rule out a run at Q-School next season, but felt like his game was not quite ready for that level this year.
Stasiak, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, plans to spend the next few months working on his physical fitness before going down to Florida over the winter to practice. He’d like to turn professional next year.
• Lackawanna’s Liam Freedman was eliminated Tuesday night on the season’s second episode of Big Break Greenbrier, the Golf Channel reality show that features 12 competitors playing for a grand prize that includes an entry into next season’s PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic.
Freedman made a bogey during the elimination challenge, against a par by his competitor.
• The News will continue to follow local golf news of note during the winter months. Send any story ideas or swing tips to the email address below.