Ryan Blackburn didn't have a hard time making up his mind when it came to deciding where he would play college golf.
Lakeside High School senior Ryan Blackburn, flanked by his parents, Karen and Ernie Blackburn, signs a letter of intent to play golf for Mercer University. He said of Tuesday's signing, "It is a dream come true."
Photo by Valerie Rowell
The Lakeside High School senior signed a letter of intent Tuesday to play golf at Mercer next year.
"It is a dream come true," Blackburn said. "Every high school athlete dreams of being able to play at the next level. Mercer was the best fit in every way for me."
Blackburn's signing came one day before the early signing period ended Wednesday. Blackburn could have waited until the spring period in April, but said he wanted to get the process over with.
"There is always the possibility that some other school might come offering," Blackburn said. "But there was just a comfort level I found with Mercer."
Blackburn noted the academic reputation, proximity to home and small class sizes were all contributing factors to his decision.
"When I visited Mercer, I fell in love," he said. "I also knew I could play early at Mercer."
Blackburn picked the Bears over Central Florida. He also received attention from Auburn and Florida State.
Blackburn started playing golf at age 10 after years of attending the Masters. He started to become serious about golf at 13, giving up playing basketball to concentrate on the sport he thought he'd have a better shot at playing in college.
Now that his college search is over, Blackburn said he will focus on enjoying his senior year and getting ready for his final golf season.
He spent most of the summer traveling to tournaments throughout Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. The tournaments allowed college coaches to see his talents and allowed Blackburn to hone his game for the upcoming season.
"We have a good shot at a state title," said Blackburn, who first broke par in 2001. "I think that, with hard work, we can go a long way this year."
Blackburn hasn't decided on a specific major but said it will be in business.
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