Marc Holzhauer made a decision to head south to Bradenton, Florida, for his junior year of high school. After two successful years at Park School in Amherst, the Clarence resident opted to focus on golf and academics in the Sunshine state, to see how good he could get at the auld gayme. Turns out, pretty good. Holzhauer defeated a shoal of highly-regarded opponents on his way to the Championship flight title. In doing so, he became the first local talent since Jonathan Clark in 2010 to win the overall title. Let’s revisit Holzhauer’s steps along the way:
–shot 76-78 in medal qualifying to earn the #14 seed;
–defeated Zachary Chaddock of Fillmore, NY, #19 seed, by a count of 3 & 2. in round one of match play;
–defeated Will Thomson of Pittsford, the defending champion and first of three medalists, by a count of 2 & 1, in round two of match play;
–defeated Simon Uribe of Colombia, #6 seed, by a count of 2 up, in round three of match play;
–defeated Baker Stevenson of Maryland, second of three qualifying medalists, by a count of 6 & 5, in round four of match play;
–defeated MacKenzie Carter of Ontario, third of three qualifying medalists, by a count of 2 up in round five of match play.
YES, you read correctly. Holzhauer defeated all three qualifying medalists, one of whom was the 2014 IJM champion, on his way to the title. With all respect due to Clark, Tim Straub, EJ Pfister and all the other local IJM champions since 1953, Holzhauer’s run was the greatest march to the championship of any homebred player in tournament history. Marc Holzhauer took time this evening to answer some questions on his journey to the title via the digital marvels of texting. Here we go!
BG.COM: Ok. One at a time. Your key thought throughout the week? The thing that kept you focused
Marc: My key thought was staying in the present and not getting a ahead of myself
BG.COM: I saw you hit a fat approach into number nine on Tuesday. Was that your only bad shot of the week.
Marc: No, I hit several bad shots this week but everyone does it, it’s about how you bounce back from them, for example [on nine] I ended up chipping it to a foot and made par
BG.COM: Are you aware that you beat all three qualifying medalists on your way to the title?
Marc: I honestly did not know that until the news reporter told me today.
BG.COM: Darn. Thought I had the scoop. Which match was the most challenging and why?
Marc: My final match, just knowing that I was so close to winning got into my head. It was tough not jumping ahead of myself.
BG.COM: What did you do to not jump ahead this afternoon?
Marc: I would zone out and only concentrate on my breathing, which is kind of like meditating. It gets me very relaxed.
BG.COM: How did you prepare for the physical demands of thirty-six a day for three straight days?
Marc: I went to bed early each day making sure I get a good nights rest. In between rounds I also tried to relax and just sit down and listen to music.
BG.COM: Ok. Last question. What has no one asked, that you think we SHOULD ask? Ask the question and answer it.
Marc: How did you feel coming into the tournament? I felt very good with my game, I recently had a lesson with my coach from Florida and he helped me out a lot. Surprisingly on Tuesday night I got a very bad cold and had a high fever that night, I was almost thinking of withdrawing.