Evan Santa started playing golf about 10 years ago when his grandparents bought him clubs and took him out to hit or play whenever they came and visited his home in Maryland. Now at age seventeen, Evan is returning for his third year of competition in the International Junior Masters Tournament.
In addition to being a very articulate young man, he is an outstanding golfer. Following his freshman year at South River High School, in Edgewater, Maryland, he won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship in 2012. He found out about the IJM from Niagara Falls native Tom Lizardo, the director of the Capital Area Junior Golf Tour. He won a regional tournament sponsored by one of IJM’s Capitol Area Golf Tour affiliates that awarded him an automatic invitation to the IJM. After the IJM, there was an article written in Evan’s local newspaper about him and his golfing skills. Head Coach Ben Spotts of DeMatha High School, in Hyattsville, Maryland, saw the article and contacted Evan’s swing coach Nathan Presnal. Although DeMatha High School is one of the most prestigious preparatory schools in Maryland, Evan didn’t really have it on his radar and was not very interested in the school. In fact, he didn’t even apply. However, talks began, and Evan visited DeMatha. After that visitation, he decided to transfer. Now in his junior year at DeMatha, Evan continues to work with both coaches.
Every year, over spring break, Coach Spotts takes the better players on the DeMatha team to his home in Hobe Sound, Florida. Holding a top spot on the golf team roster, Evan shot a 75 on his opening round on a 7,200-plus yard course at the McArthur Golf Club. During their time in Florida, the team also got to play other golf courses such as Medalist Golf Club, Quail Valley Golf club, and Bear Lakes Country Club. They also had the opportunity to play 18 holes with 2011 Senior US Open Champion Olin Browne. Olin not only gave pointers and tips to the team, but played the course with them.
During the school season, Evan has two matches per week, practices at least two more times, and works out at least three times a week. He believes working out is a big part of his game and gives him an edge on players who don’t. Last year, he played again in the WCAC championship, as well as the Maryland State Amateur tournament, 4 AJGA tournaments, and some smaller local tournaments.
Rory McIlroy is Evan’s favorite professional golfer and he follows McIlroy closely. Some of the other favorite pros Evan looks up to and follows are Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Bud Cauley, Zach Johnson, and Steve Stricker.
Evan feels that the best part of the IJM experience is the all around treatment the players receive. He acknowledges, “I was welcomed both times I played in the IJM with very nice registration gifts (hat, towel, alignments sticks, etc.) As players, we get to play a beautiful and testing golf course at East Aurora Country Club. All of the tournament volunteers are extremely nice to the players, the town of East Aurora takes us in for the week and everyone is very nice! It’s just an extremely well-run event with a great staff, a beautiful golf course, and an all around great experience.”
Last summer Evan became close friends with player Brendan Hunter, as well as the group of players from Mexico, and remains in contact with them.
Evan plans to continue playing golf in college after high school. His parents are very supportive in academics as well as golf. He enjoys watching DeMatha basketball and football games which are both nationally recognized programs. He also enjoys relaxing with friends in his spare time.