Michael Balzer is hoping the third time is the charm playing in this, his 3rd Players Amateur. “Just a different approach to the course. Different mindset going in. Little more conservative.” he says after shooting even par in round one.
Michael is junior at USC Beaufort and a Bluffton resident. He’s playing his home course Trying to win it and get in to the biggest tournament of his life. “It’s somewhat of an advantage because I can see” he says. I know all the spots where to hit it and I know all the spots where not to hit it.”
Don’t think the different between the top of the leaderboard is razor thin. A missed par putt on 17 dropped Michael about 5 spots in the standings. Meantime an attempt at birdie on 18 just missed and kept him from getting back in the mix. Still after 1 day, he’s only 4 shots off of the lead and has as good of a chance as anyone at winning this tournament. “I had to battle all day to make a lot of putts for par. I struggled, didn’t hit a lot of fairways. I got it done. Keeping myself in the tournament for the day going into the last 3 rounds.” He says.
It helps to be at home. Berkeley Hall is his home course. Round one he had his father, Gene watching and encouraging. “That was kind of the strategic plan moving into the tournament. Kinda put yourself in a position where you didn’t have to work real hard to play forward. Just put yourself in a position where you play consistently throughout three days.”
Round 2 is Friday. The tournament runs through Sunday