Letter of intent signed, Elliott headed to regional

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Blake Elliott recently signed his letter of intent to play golf at Paris Junior College. (Kathy Canady Photo)

Blake Elliott recently signed his letter of intent to play golf at Paris Junior College. (Kathy Canady Photo)

By SEAN SHAPIRO

Blake Elliott sprouted between his sophomore and junior years of high school.

His golf game grew with him.

After being a self-described “good, but not great” golfer as a 5-foot-2 sophomore, Elliott grew into his now 5-foot-9 frame that will be competing at the Class 4A, Region IV tournament next week and playing college golf at Paris Junior College next season.

“I just grew, got bigger,” Elliott, now a senior, said. “I got better club speed and got stronger. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.”

Well, Elliott has redefined “ordinary” for the Liberty Hill golf program during the past two seasons.

As a junior he reached the Class 3A UIL state tournament and finished third overall with a two-day score of 152 — three strokes away from a potential state title.

He then rolled that momentum into his senior season. Back in October he set the new school record when he fired an 8-under-par round of 64 at Blackhawk Country Club in Manor.

Elliott continued to win tournaments and climb leader boards all season, including a second-place finish at the District 25-4A tournament this week with a two-day score of 138.

“I had a 152 at district last year, so dropping my score from one year to the next is a great feeling,” Elliott said.

As a team, Liberty Hill finished fourth. Quite an accomplishment for a program that only fielded four golfers – teams typically have five – and couldn’t qualify for the team standings in 2014 because of participation numbers.

Elliott will now focus on the regional tournament, which will be played at Lozano Golf Course in Corpus Christi April 13-14.

“It’s a shorter course, not as short as Llano or Lampasas (where the district meet was), but a similar style game,” Elliott said. “I’ll get a practice round in and learn a bit more from that.”

With a top-10 finish in Corpus Christi he will advance to the Class 4A state meet at Onion Creek Golf Club in Austin on April 27-28.

“That’s the goal, nothing else too special,” Elliott said.

Sandwiched in between a district and regional golf tournament, Elliott also planned to finalize his collegiate golf plans at a signing ceremony Thursday morning on the cafeteria stage in Liberty Hill High School.

Elliott approached his collegiate decision similar to a difficult par-5 hole – with precision and strategy.

He had offers from a couple Division II schools, but he felt and knew he was a Division I golfer.

That’s when he started comparing Paris Junior College and Tyler Junior College as potential launching pads for a Division I golf career.

“It wasn’t that hard of a decision, I knew I wanted to play Division I,” Elliott said. “I know that’s the type of competition I should be playing against. I knew that and that’s why I’m going this route, it’s an extra chance to prove myself to that level.”

Elliott visited Paris and Tyler. After considering a number of factors – the people, golf programs, and academics amongst others – he settled on Paris, where he felt the “people there just made it the right fit.”

And it only made sense to make it official in the middle of a successful high school golf season.

“It’ll be a busy week, but it’s been pretty fun, too,” he said.

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