Despite his best efforts, including a winter filled with practice and technical work, Mike Blasey often found himself playing from behind during Landon’s spring high school golf season.
Blasey had his moments, like when he used a seven-hole stretch of one birdie and six pars to finish as the third-lowest golfer during Landon’s April win against IAC rival St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, but it wasn’t until last week during the Maryland Junior Amateur that the rising senior finally felt in control of his game, and in turn, the tournament.
Following an impressive first-round score of 71 that placed him in the lead group, Blasey distanced himself from the pack in last Tuesday’s final round by hitting 15 greens in regulation at the University of Maryland course to win the prestigious amateur event with a two-day score of 1-under par 141.
“I thought the work I put in over the winter would help me during the spring season, but it hadn’t showed yet. But things have really started to click during the summer,” Blasey said. “When you hit fifteen greens, you’re not going to make many mistakes, and that puts pressure on the other guys to hit really well.”
While Blasey placed the pressure on his opponents, he enjoyed a more care-free approach that he said had been missing during the spring. Playing on IAC team champion Landon, which featured All-Met Morgan Egloff (who tied for third last Tuesday) and Evan Katz (tied for ninth), Blasey said his desire to not let his teammates down during team tournaments often left him trying too hard to hit the perfect shot. It was until last week, despite competing with 119 of the state’s top amateur golfers for the same title, that Blasey felt at ease.
“I think I stopped putting so much pressure on myself this summer because I wasn’t playing on a team, so I didn’t feel like any bad shots I hit were letting my team down; it was on me,” Blasey said. “I think playing individually helped relax me.”
After hitting the first four greens in the final round, Blasey drained a birdie putt on No. 5, giving him more cushion as the other two leaders struggled out of the gate. Two more birdies on Nos. 9 and 15 left him as the only golfer to finish under par across 36 holes and with the win, qualified him for a few other American Junior Golf Association tournaments, such as September’s Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational in South Carolina.
Blasey will look to use these events to not only generate more looks on the recruiting circuit, where he’s drawn interest from Ivy League schools such as Emory, Penn and Princeton, but to also build his confidence and momentum in helping the Landon Bears defend their IAC title next spring.
“The win gave me a sense of comfort and confidence out on the course,” Blasey said. “Hopefully, that will carry over back into next spring season so I can help my team, too.”
Related: All-Met Golf teams