Jay Blackburn has enjoyed golf more than 30 years with the game rarely moving past the point of just being fun.
The Harlem resident will tell you he's not fond of practice. He tried making the game a profession a decade ago, but didn't find it a good fit.
Blackburn won his 10th Regions Cup event in July to become the circuit's all-time career wins leader. He fired a final-round 66 to overcome a six-shot deficit.
At 44 years old, Blackburn hasn't ruled out a run at professional golf on the Champions Tour, a senior circuit with a minimum age of 50.
For now, he is content to enjoy the relationships he has developed on the course and to satisfy his competitive urges with Regions Cup events.
"I'm out there to win," Blackburn said. "But it's not the end of the world."
Blackburn grew up playing the junior golf circuits in Nashville, Tenn. He said his swing remained almost untouched besides the occasional tip from his local pro and critique from his younger brother, Brooks, now the head golf professional at Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken.
The Blackburns' father, Jack, did not pick up the game until his mid-20s, but caught on quickly. Brooks Blackburn said his brother has the same natural ability.
"He's just got a nice, fluid, smooth swing that doesn't require a lot of work to it," said Brooks, who is almost five years younger than his brother.
When Jay Blackburn moved to the Augusta area in the late 1980s, he was in the middle of an extended hiatus from the game. He broke his hand in Tennessee and did not get back into golf until he started hitting balls at Goshen Plantation. In the early 1990s, he started playing tournaments in the Regions Cup, then known as the Cadillac Cup. He won the Augusta City Amateur in 1992 and again in 1996.
He decided to turn professional.
"I wasn't prepared then," Blackburn said. "I just kind of did it."
Blackburn's plan was to teach golf. He got a job in 1997 at a start-up driving range on Columbia Road. By 1999, his stint as a pro was over and Blackburn was reinstated as an amateur.
Soon after, he began his assault on the Region Cup career wins record.
Blackburn, now an insulation contractor, won the final event of the 2008 season to get to nine career Regions Cup wins. The 10th victory came in the second event Blackburn played in 2009, the Goshen Classic. With it, he broke free from the nine-win group of Aiken's Michael Carlisle and Waynesboro's Mitch Marchman.
Blackburn said he plans to continue playing Regions Cup events now that he owns the record. But he is looking ahead.
He said a decision on whether to turn professional again would have to be made within the next few years so that he could begin preparing -- not just his game, but also physically.
"Sometimes I wonder, if I had dedicated myself, what I could have done later on," Blackburn said. "I don't guess you can second-guess stuff like that."
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