Blake Windred (Golf Australia photo)
BLUFFTON, S.C. – As an amateur, Blake Windred, by definition, does not play golf for a living. Still, Windred, a 21-year-old Australian, has framed it that way in his head. If you’re looking for a window into the success that Windred and his compatriots experience on the American amateur golf circuit each summer, that’s a good place to start.
Windred will tee it up in the Pacific Coast Amateur this week after making his stateside debut earlier this month at the Players Amateur. He finished T-21 after rounds of 65-69-75-69 on a scoreable Berkeley Hall Golf Club. After his second-round 69, he was most proud of not letting the day get away from him.
“I was very patient today, very patient,” Windred said, explaining that his game was shaky
Through Golf New South Wales, Windred has access to a performance coach who helps him with mindset on the course. In the handful of conversations he’s had with friends playing professionally in Europe and Australia, this is their feedback: His game is nearly there, but he’s got to think better.
Windred uses the word limitless.
“That’s what I talk about with my mind coach, just be limitless when things are going your way, just take advantage and see how many birdies you can make,” he said.
Windred didn’t go to college, and while he admits he might regret that later, for now, a full-time golf apprenticeship makes a lot of sense.
“It’s not just about the golf,” he said. “One of the hardest things is managing your body, and then with flights and like this trip, I’m nearly used to it, but my golf clubs have been lost a couple times, my suitcase lost three times.”
“The job” has put Windred in many different situations. One that sticks out is a pairing with Matt Wolff, recent 20-year-old PGA Tour winner, in the second-to-last round of the Australian Master of the Amateurs. Wolff brought the crowds, and Windred had his eyes on Wolff.
“It was just such a good day, but you’re not trying to compare yourself to these guys, it’s just about competing against them,” Windred said.
At the end of the round, Windred had the low score in the group, a 70 to Wolff’s 72, and Windred finished third to Wolff’s fifth.
And so when Wolff won the 3M Open earlier this month, Windred was one of the potentially hundreds of Wolff cohorts who watched him calmly jar an eagle putt from the left fringe on No. 18 and win by one.
“It’s the mindset obviously, because (his game) wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before,” Windred said.
This is Windred’s third full summer spent in the U.S., bouncing from tournament to tournament. In the winter, he plays amateur golf, and makes a few pro starts, in Australia. A week after winning the Avondale Amateur – for the second time – to start 2019, Windred finished 12th at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, a pro event.
Before arriving in the U.S. this month, Windred played the Amateur Championship in Ireland and the European Amateur in Austria. He raved about the venues, and says he’d like to start his professional career playing on the European Tour. Eventually he hopes to play on the PGA Tour.
“I’ve learned a lot and that’s helped develop my game,” Windred said of links golf.
If all goes according to plan, his route will look a lot like Brooks Koepka’s. Until then, the apprenticeship continues.