By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
The transfer portal is a scary process, one that has many unknowns and concerns. Luckily, when fifth-year senior Addie Baggarly joined Baylor women’s golf using her final semester of eligibility, she became teammates with someone she had known for more than seven years, fifth-year senior Gurleen Kaur.
“It makes me feel more at home than I think I could’ve felt anywhere else,” Baggarly said. “We actually found a picture from us in junior golf in 2016 with us and a bunch more friends and it was just kind of crazy. It just makes me feel at home coming into a new place that I don’t really know too well and [it’s] a lot of fun to rekindle that friendship again.”
For Kaur, bringing the golfer from the University of Florida into the program has been a major boost. She remembers how long they go back and loves being able to have such a unique bond with a newly integrated teammate that was originally over 1,000 miles away in Gainesville, Fla.
“Her and I have been friends since like 2015,” Kaur said. “So it’s just nice to have another friend on the team and she’s probably one of my closest friends now too, so just a different level of our relationship.”
Although head coach Jay Goble knew a little of the friendship, he couldn’t have asked for a bigger bonus to the group.
“I knew that her and Gurleen were friends. Actually, I called Gurleen after I had already talked to Addie,” Goble said. “I probably didn’t realize the relationship they did have, but yes, they are good friends. It’s just an added bonus that she was good friends with one of our best players.”
Kaur, fresh off a 5-over-par finish in the Chevron Championship as one of four amateurs in the field, didn’t fully believe she would get the invite beforehand. While playing at Ridgewood Country Club with some teammates, her pal and former Gator, had a feeling she’d get the call.
“We joked about it like a month and a half earlier,” Baggarly said. “We were like, ‘Gurleen, what if you get the call to play in the Chevron?’ And she’s like, ‘There’s absolutely no way, there’s no way at all.’ And I’m like, ‘It’s a possibility, you could.’ Then sure enough, a month and a half later, she gets the call and we’re sitting in the Ridgewood parking lot [and] she’s freaking out.”
That support for each other represents the strength of their togetherness, something Goble loves from his team, especially outside the sport.
“They have a lot of dinners and lunches together,” Goble said. “They have a great relationship outside of golf. They’ve been friends for a long time, but they’re supporting each other as well and pushing each other.”
From a golf standpoint, it’s rare to see multiple fifth-year seniors as part of a rotation for most programs. In times like this, it pays off to have someone right by your side in an abnormal spot.
“It’s great because we’re kind of in the same boat,” Baggarly said. “Not a lot of people are coming back for their fifth years and in the starting five lineup. It’s really nice to have someone else there with me to go through it.”
Goble isn’t complaining about the added veteran presence due to his young roster, as he said “It’s nice to have two upperclassmen instead of one.”
Now that Baggarly is familiar with things, Kaur is fired up for a chance to do something she was so close to achieving her freshman year: a Big 12 Championship and potentially a national championship.
“She was injured a little bit in the beginning, but now I feel like we can have a great run at a Big 12 Championship and make it to nationals,” Kaur said. “It’s been good. She’s been valuable for our team dynamic too.”
While the Houston native wished she had more time on the course with Baggarly, the collegiate career is bleak for both golfers. The squad is under two months away from postseason play and individually, the future pro and the aspiring coach can look back at that photo from 2016 and marvel at how they went from friends to teammates.
“It feels like yesterday we were still playing junior golf together,” Baggarly said. “So it’s kind of weird how time flies, but I’m really, really appreciative that I’m going through this with a good friend of mine.”