“It’s all happening” is an oft-heard phrase in sport – but it’s rarely been more apt than in the world of Blake Collyer.
Collyer, 18, begins life as a Deakin University commerce student tomorrow.
He was, last week, chosen in the Victorian Institute of Sport golf squad.
He won the prestigious 72-hole Boroondara Cup on Sunday.
And oh yeah, he fired a 61 to set the Green Acres Golf Club course record on Saturday en route to doing so.
Not a bad week’s work, by any standard.
But Collyer, free from the shackles of high school studies, is hoping it becomes far more de rigueur.
Having watched several of his amateur peers earn higher accolades and profiles in the past year or so, Collyer is now keen to catch up – and says he hasn’t left his run too late.
“I’ve probably got a bit of ground to make up, but the best thing is I’ve seen guys like Ryan Ruffels play a fair bit and I know where I’ve got to get to – and I think I can do it,” said Collyer, whose handicap has dropped from +1 last year to its present +3.
“Now that things are a bit more relaxed after (finishing my) VCE, I have a bit more time and I can practise a bit more. I’m finding that I’m playing much better now that I’m relaxed about it.”
With an eye firmly on the US PGA Tour down the track, Collyer began to make his mark this summer when he reached the round of 16 at the Australian Amateur Championship in Sydney, taking down fourth seed Johnson Poh and Jack McLeod before losing to eventual semi-finalist Kevin Yuan.
“That’s where I really felt like my game was at that point (where I could compete with the others). It just gave me a lot of confidence to know I was thereabouts.”
His next big chance to prove that is this week’s Riversdale Cup, with another surge in confidence from his weekend heroics.
The Boroondara Cup is two days of 36 holes each at adjacent clubs, Green Acres and Kew.
Collyer jumped from the blocks with an opening 68 at Green Acres, then followed with the round of his life in the afternoon – a mighty 10-under-par 61.
Beginning on the back nine, he began steadily with a birdie on the 12th before an eagle-birdie-birdie run from 14-16 had tongues flapping.
Birdies on the first, third, fourth and fifth holes had the group in front of him — watching closely in the big field — on “59 watch”.
But a bogey on the sixth hole, when he played too far left to avoid trouble on the right, realistically ended that dream before birdies on the eighth and ninth enabled him to slash an incredible six strokes from the previous club record.
“I felt a bit for Kyle Michel – he had a 64 a couple of minutes later,” he joked.
Collyer, a member at Kew and also at Metropolitan, for whom he plays pennant, then backed up on his home track on Sunday with rounds of 71-75 to finish an impressive 11 under par, a three-shot winner and one of only six golfers in red numbers.
“It was great to shoot (61), but it actually felt quite simple. It didn’t feel like I did anything special, which is obviously a good thing.
“I was just as happy to win, though, because it gives me confidence that I can do better again next time.”
That next time is the Riversdale Cup this week, then later this year he’s hopeful of a few starts in the big amateur events in the United States.
“If I can get my ranking down, hopefully I’ll be OK.”
And the way things are rolling for Collyer right now, you wouldn’t put it past him.