The life of a junior golfer looking to eventually earn a spot on a Division-I college team can be a grind, just ask Nick Sako.
After putting away the hockey pads and baseball glove in seventh grade to take up the sport full-time, the 17-year-old felt a bit burnt out after last summer's full schedule of junior golf events, numbering more than 20, not including his matches at Menlo-Atherton High School, where he is the captain of the golf team. Finally, he decided he needed a break.
"I took three months off during the fall, got away from the game just to have fun being a high school student," said Sako.
The mental break obviously paid off, as Sako went on to record two of the best finishes of his career at the historic Visa San Francisco City Championship (where he made the quarterfinals) as well as the Champions Invitational in Palm Springs (where he finished T-11 of 200+ golfers).
"The San Francisco City was obviously very big for me, and I lost to the one person I would've wanted," said Sako. "Martin (Trainer, the eventual champ) stays with me sometimes before tournaments and we travel together, so I was really happy he won.
"At the Champions Invitational I had never played the course, so I just played my game, hit fairways and greens and the birdies will come"
Sako's next challenge will be a trip half an hour south for the Alameda Commuters, another course he has never played.
Looking further ahead, Sako said the main goal for him continue to do well in the classroom and on the course to one day earn a spot on the UCLA golf team, where he was first impressed with the campus and program when he visited two years ago as a freshman (though is also exploring a wide range of golf program options throughout the country).