Turner Kufe '11 entered the final hole of Sunday's Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) Golf Championship, the ninth hole at Brunswick Golf Club, trailing Colby's Tripp Huber by two strokes. Kufe understood the urgency of the situation: birdie the hole or come in second place.
The ninth hole at Brunswick Golf Club is majestic and daunting, the course's signature hole. The 610-yard, par-five hole runs straight for two shots before banking 90-degrees right over a pond and up onto a brutally layered green.
In order to birdie the hole, Kufe had to put together four great shots.
Adding to the pressure of the already imposing hole is the clubhouse patio that sits just behind the ninth green and allows spectators to watch every triumph or miscue.
After two shots down the middle of the fairway, both Kufe and Huber cleared the water and stuck their approach shots on the green about 30 feet from the pin.
Huber, perhaps succumbing to the pressure of the moment, three putted for a bogey. Kufe, in response, buried his thirty footer to force a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, Kufe sank a bending 4 footer for the title.
Kufe, captain of the men's golf team, shot a 74 for the day and tied his lowest round ever at Brunswick Golf Club. On the all-important ninth hole, Turner recognized the magnitude of his lone putt.
"I was losing by two, so since we had both reached the green in three, I knew I had to make that putt. I hit it solid and it went in; luckily [Huber] three putt," he said.
Kufe noted that the winning putt on the first playoff hole, a tap-in compared to his playoff-forcing hole, was just as hard.
"It was short, so you're supposed to make it, but it also bent a little," Kufe said. "And it was for the win. Those are always harder," he added with a smile.
Coach Tomas Fortson called Kufe's performance on Saturday "heroic," but noted that Turner has been even more impressive as a team leader.
Fortson highlighted the challenge that accompanies the role of captain: performing at a high level while still leading teammates through practices and competitions.
Fortson has seen other athletes struggle with the expanded role, but Turner, according to the coach, "Has done a great job being a team leader."
"Tin Cup" lead Roy McAvoy is famous for saying, "When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment or the moment defines you."
The Hollywood cliché may be sappy, but it is appropriate for a sport like golf in which one shot can make all the difference.
On Sunday, Kufe had his defining moment, sinking a clutch putt and walking away with the CBB championship.