From Minnesota to Michigan to Connecticut, Nate Stevens has played a lot of golf in the last two months.
Starting the week after he finished ninth at the Class AAA state tournament in June, he’s competed in what he estimates at 15 tournaments throughout the summer, including the Minnesota Junior PGA Championship (second place), helping Team Minnesota top Team Wisconsin in the 22nd annual Minnesota-Wisconsin Junior Cup matches, and a couple weeks ago, in the Junior PGA Championship in Connecticut.
“Pretty much every week we’re going somewhere different,” Stevens said.
At the Junior PGA Championship, Stevens said he faced the toughest competition of his life. Stevens narrowly missed the cut after the second day of competition at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Connecticut, by two strokes in the 144-player field.
The field included golfers from throughout the United States, in addition to competitors from the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Myanmar.
“That was my first international tournament,” Stevens said. “It was the greatest experience, because I got to play with kids that are playing Division I golf next year and I felt like I learned so much from talking with them and asking them questions about the college golf process and how they’ve become so successful in their junior careers.”
Those connections surpassed the golf experience in some ways, Stevens said, since hopefully those will lead to greater opportunities and tournaments. That’s not to downplay the golf he’s played this summer, though.
Over the last two months, Stevens said he’s worked to improve his club-head speed, which will further stretch his drives off the tee and open up greater possibilities with his irons.
“I feel like I’ve improved in that area of my game, which is an area that I kind of struggled in before,” Stevens said.
While his summer break hasn’t included much of an actual break, Stevens said the past two months have been easier than the spring high school season since there was no need to balance his time on the course with hours spent studying.
That helped, since there was so much for him to see this summer.
“Each of these tournaments we go to is kind of like a mini-vacation,” Stevens said. “We get to meet new people, go to new places and get to play golf, which I love to do.”