Jack Blair, Bentley Cotton

Wauwatosa's Jack Blair, Texas' Bentley Cotton pose with 2019 WinCraft McArthur Towel & Sports Future Legends Tournament trophies.

To understand how Jack Blair reached the point of winning his first American Junior Golf Association Tour event Friday, the Wauwatosa golfer needed to remember why he hadn't won the WinCraft McArthur Towel & Sports Future Legends Tournament past years at the Legend of Merrill Hills Country Club.

"Every year, I had this tournament circled in my calendar as one I wanted to do really well in," the University of Wisconsin recruit wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.golf. "I think I put too much pressure on myself to play well in this particular event every year and I usually fell short of what I hoped for. I’ve always felt comfortable at Merrill Hills, so this year, instead of trying to force things, I had a really peaceful attitude about how I played."

His scorecard Friday showed he was at peace playing with the lead, too. 

Blair's 1-under-par 71 in the final round gave him a four-stroke victory over Ohio's Joe Wilson with a 1-under 215 total. Minnesota's Ben Warian (73) and Kaukauna's Brock Hlinak (73) tied for third at 220 while California's Patrick Hong (74-221) rounded out the top five in the boys competition.

In the girls portion of the ninth annual tournament, Bentley Cotton of Austin, Texas, shot 72 and rolled to a five-stroke victory with a 217 total. Franklin's Mallory Swartz (77-233) was the top Wisconsin finisher, in a tie for 11th.

After starting the day with a one-stroke lead over Indiana's Drew Wrightson, Blair played like someone determined to control his own destiny. He birdied Nos. 3, 4 and 7 and, despite a bogey at No. 8, led by four shots at the turn.

"(I) just told myself to try and hit one good shot after another," Blair wrote. "And if I can do that, I’ll live with the results."

The four-shot cushion allowed Blair to do some deeper thinking on the back nine.

"I kind of just had a super positive attitude the whole day," Blair wrote. "The one thing I kept thinking was this quote I heard from one of my old high school teachers: 'Perspective plus gratitude equals an increase in performance.' I love that quote because it kind of forces you to look back at how a cool of a moment you’re in and all the work (your) parents as well as you put in to get there. It helped me to just enjoy the moment and realize that if I won it’d be a great learning experience and if I lost I’d learn even more.

"I was calm the whole day (Friday) and just kept thinking if I keep grinding and do my best mentally, I'll live with the result."

And now? He'll savor it, but not for too long.

He will be Wisconsin's lone representative next week at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. On top of its timing, this victory was so big for so many reasons for Blair. 

"Winning in my home state is awesome; the last Wisconsinite to do it was (Vanderbilt golfer) Harrison Ott so I’m in good company for sure," Blair wrote. "(As for) winning an AJGA (event), it’s less excitement and more validation that I can compete and win big tournaments."

Boys overall

1John Blair
Wauwatosa, Wis. (2019)
2Joe Wilson
West Chester, Ohio (2022)
T3Ben Warian
Stillwater, Minn. (2020)
T3Brock Hlinak
Kaukauna, Wis. (2019)
5Patrick Hong
Los Angeles, Calif. (2022)
T6Cameron Huss
Kenosha, Wis. (2020)
T6Henry Poston
Los Alamos, N.M. (2020)
T8Aidan Lafferty
Downers Grove, Ill. (2019)
T8Ben DeLaRosa
Dallas, Texas (2023)
T8Jack Johnson
Chaska, Minn. (2020)
T11Connor Neighbors
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (2019)
T11Drew Wrightson
Zionsville, Ind. (2021)
T11Spencer Crowe
Lake Forest, Ill. (2019)
T14Jack Lundin
Sioux Falls, S.D. (2020)
T14Matthew Raab
Hartland, Wis. (2019)
T16Ian Meyer
Deephaven, Minn. (2021)
T16Peter Radler
Winnetka, Ill. (2019)
T16Robert Beaubien
Barrington, Ill. (2019)
T16Scott Schlader
Phoenix, Ariz. (2020)
T16Shang-En Shen
Taipei, Taiwan (2022)
T21Hayden LeMonds
Wauwatosa, Wis. (2022)
T21John Fischer
Waconia, Minn. (2019)
T21Mac Suber
Tampa, Fla. (2020)
T21Will Frazier
Apple Valley, Minn. (2019)
T25Charles Zielinski
Omaha, Neb. (2020)
T25Drew Sagrillo
Mequon, Wis. (2019)
T25Max Barr
Winnetka, Ill. (2021)
T28Aaron Kuznik
Orono, Minn. (2020)
T28Jack Anderson
Brookfield, Wis. (2019)
T28Jack Dumas
Le Claire, Iowa (2021)
T28Nick Pittman
Urbandale, Iowa (2019)
T32Aiden Choi
(South Korea) San Diego, Calif. (2020)
T32Griffin Roscich
Glen Ellyn, Ill. (2020)
T32Johnny Walker
Chandler, Ariz. (2021)
T35Brady Holland
Elk River, Minn. (2021)
T35Pierce Braun
Phoenix, Ariz. (2020)
T35Will Webb
Lake Forest, Ill. (2021)
T38Aaron Chong
Glenview, Ill. (2020)
T38Davis Johnson
Chaska, Minn. (2021)
T38Jacob Beckman
Middleton, Wis. (2021)
T38Logan Lillehaug
Frederic, Wis. (2020)
T42Ethan Wilkins
Sussex, Wis. (2019)
T42Rory Myers
Wayland, Mich. (2019)
T42Will Verduzco
Kalamazoo, Mich. (2020)
T45Henry Quinn
Arlington Heights, Ill. (2021)
T45Patrick Adler
Winnetka, Ill. (2021)
47Ian Smith
Canton, Mich. (2020)
T48Charlie Haggerty
Lake Forest, Ill. (2021)
T48Conan Pan
Vernon Hills, Ill. (2021)
T50Blake Weinbach
Columbia, S.C. (2021)
T50Brockton English
Shelby Township, Mich. (2021)
52Ben Pausha
Delafield, Wis. (2021)
T53Alexander Bassel
Lexington, Ky. (2020)
T53Nikko Ganas
Schaumburg, Ill. (2021)
55Yun-Jui Yang
Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2021)
56Reindl Weaver
Deerfield, Ill. (2019)
57Graham Head
Glen Ellyn, Ill. (2022)
58Dillon Burr
Marion, Iowa (2021)
59Braeden Resnick
Rice Lake, Wis. (2021)
DQChristian Staudt
Mequon, Wis. (2021)

Girls overall

1Bentley Cotton
Austin, Texas (2020)
2Camille Boyd
Shanghai, China (2020)
3Stephanie Su
South Barrington, Ill. (2021)
4Yiyang Xu
Shanghai, China (2021)
5Honghong Zhou
Beijing, China (2021)
6Brianne Bolden
Mokena, Ill. (2019)
T7Caroline Garay
La Jolla, Calif. (2019)
T7Sophie Dalfonsi
Bend, Ore. (2021)
T7Sydney Seigel
Scottsdale, Ariz. (2021)
10Sophia Sulkar
Barrington Hills, Ill. (2022)
T11Kirsty Mitchell
(Canada) Ingersoll, Ontario (2022)
T11Mallory Swartz
Franklin, Wis. (2020)
T11Zoe Newell
Oro Valley, Ariz. (2023)
14Yiting Pan
Shanghai, China (2021)
T15Arlene Faye Salvador
Palmdale, Calif. (2020)
T15Leica Shen
(China) Bellevue, Wash. (2021)
17Yanah Rolston
Fortville, Ind. (2022)
T18Allie Kantor
Milton, Ga. (2021)
T18Katelyn Kuc
Carmel, Ind. (2021)
T18Tzunami Polito
(Mexico) Franklin, Tenn. (2021)
21Jessica Guiser
Hartland, Wis. (2024)
22Lauren Kaltenmark
Zionsville, Ind. (2021)
T23Bailee Tayles
Scottsdale, Ariz. (2021)
T23Melanie Bailes
Lake Forest, Ill. (2019)
25Holly Murphy
Lake Geneva, Wis. (2020)
26Grace Mitchell
(Canada) Ingersoll, Ontario (2019)
27Jenna Han
Mahwah, N.J. (2021)
T28Catherine Reisinger
Park Ridge, Ill. (2021)
T28Caylie Kotlowski
Stoughton, Wis. (2021)
30Glenna Sanderson
Middleton, Wis. (2021)
31Lauren Peterson
Hartland, Wis. (2022)
32Reagan Sohn
Evansville, Ind. (2022)
33Ellie Braksiek
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (2020)
34Aliya George
Emerald Hills, Calif. (2021)
35Joanna James
Orland Park, Ill. (2021)
WDMichelle Harn
Mount Pleasant, S.C. (2019)

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