Senior golfer Blake Tomlinson leads Skyline team through successful season
Senior golfer Blake Tomlinson poses with his first-place trophy after winning the Salt Lake City Open Golf Tournament in mid-August. Tomlinson’s total score of 129 is thought to be the lowest winning score since the 1970s. (Craig Barlow/Skyline Athletic Director)
By Sarah Almond | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Oct. 4, Skyline High School senior Blake Tomlinson put a final stamp of success on the boys golf season by winning the 4A state tournament.
“He placed fifth when he was a sophomore and fourth last year as a junior,” said Craig Barlow, head coach of the Eagles. “Then this year he happened to be the state champion, which he richly deserved because he’s the best player in 4A.”
Blake shot a 66 on Saturday, day one, and a 71 on day two for a combined total of 137. For the notoriously difficult Gold Course at Midway’s Soldier Hollow Golf Course, shooting 137 is a sign of remarkable talent.
“Blake has been playing golf since he was walking,” Barlow said. “From my understanding, his mom is one of the best female golfers in the state and he’s been playing since he was barely walking. He practices a lot, he plays a lot and his results pretty much speak for themselves.”
In golf, each stroke counts as one point with par indicating how many strokes are required for each hole or course. Most 18-hole golf courses are par 72, but Blake dominated each of the Eagles’ five regional tournaments by scoring an average of just 68 shots per course.
“He’s gotten so much better this last year,” Barlow said. “He’s just learned how to be more focused and he’s improved his game.”
Barlow, who has coached the Eagles golf team for eight years, says that Blake’s dedication and passion for the sport of golf has greatly contributed to his steady improvement as a player. But more than anything, Barlow said, it’s Blake’s unwavering mental focus that has made him a standout athlete.
“He’s got a mental edge that a lot of kids don’t have,” Barlow said. “And he hits the ball so doggone far. He can drive the ball as far as the pros can.”
And he proved just that. Early this season, Blake showed that not only can he hit the golf ball as far as the pros can, but that he can also out-drive, out-putt and out-score them. On Aug. 14, Blake won the Salt Lake City Open Golf Tournament at the Bonneville Golf Course where he went head-to-head with PGA masters like Chris Gresh and Tommy Sharp.
His prowess proved superior after he finished the competition with a final score of 129, a whopping 15 shots under course par.
“It was pretty amazing to see him outdrive two of the pros,” Barlow said.
Facing tough competition was nothing new for Blake or the 17 other members of the Eagles golf team. Skyline spent most of their short, eight-week-long competition season battling their rivals at Olympus High School for the region’s top spot.
“Olympus won the first four tournaments we played and we won that last four,” Barlow said. “And then we tied for fifth at state. We’ve gone back and forth with Olympus like this for years.”
Barlow, who has been coaching at Skyline for eight years, says that friendly, competitive rivalries like this are what make golf stand out as a unique sport.
“What I love about golf is the kids can compete at a high level and still be gentlemen,” Barlow said. “There’s none of that ‘rip your head off’ attitude, or taunting, or anything like that. The kids at Olympus and Skyline are pretty good friends. They play competitively but they are still pretty close, which is nice because you don’t always get that.”
Barlow credits much of this respectable team culture to players like Blake, who demonstrate good leadership both on and off the course. Blake’s reputation as a strong leader and even stronger golfer got him recognized by several university programs across the nation.
In making it one step closer to the pros, Blake recently committed to play golf for the University of Utah in fall 2017 where he’ll represent the Skyline community with hard work, strong talent and Eagle spirit.