SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – As he closes in on the first half of his collegiate career, Cody Blick has completed 20 percent of his ultimate goal – as in, two victories down and eight remaining.
Blick, the next rising star on the San Jose State roster, tied for first in his opening event as a sophomore, the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate, then won outright the next week at the Wolverine Intercollegiate.
Blick, a talented and thoughtful player from Danville, Calif., has pegged the number 10 for his career. It’s the same number of career victories another Spartan, Tour player Arron Oberholser, achieved while at San Jose State. After Blick met Oberholser this summer, 10 victories began to sound even better.
“I got two early and then I started swinging poorly after that, but I was saving it a lot,” Blick said. “A lot of good scrambling rounds. I just want to win.”
Just a sophomore, Blick carries the torch for San Jose State with poise. He played his way into contention at the Transamerica/WFG Western Intercollegiate on April 12 with opening rounds of 69-68 at Pasatiempo Golf Club. At 6,500 yards, and a par 70, it’s a short track by collegiate standards, but the defense is in the greens. The Spartans host this event, and have for the past 67 years, but they don’t play it with any frequency. Blick was adjusting to the conditions just as much as the next guy over the first two rounds.
“It was really important to play from the pin back,” he said after the first 36 holes. “So I was basically looking to see where the pin was and adjusting where to hit my tee shots so I’d have the right angle.”
That kept Blick’s card free of big numbers. He never made more than a bogey on the opening day, which helped him climb to a tie for fifth. Blick knew that evening that the last Spartan to win this event was Oberholser, back in 1996.
“He’s the last one to win it so hopefully I could get another one in here for the Spartans,” Blick said.
Blick’s steady rise in college golf over the past year make his goal, albeit lofty, seem attainable. A year ago, Blick ended his freshman season as one of only two players in the country to earn a prestigious trifecta. Blick was the Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year and player of the year, and also was a First-Team All-American. Only Texas freshman Brandon Stone earned the same distinctions in the Big 12 Conference.
As a freshman, Blick ended the season No. 260 in Golfweek’s individual rankings. He had one runner-up finish at the Duck Invitational, two top 5s and three top 10s.
Already this season, Blick has risen to No. 50 in the rankings. Of 23 competitive rounds, 15 have been at par or better, and he has four top-10 finishes so far this season.
Blick has also had his setbacks. Last month, as he played a tournament at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, Ore., with his team, Blick hit his ball into a bowl of thick grass. The ball nestled up to a sprinkler head that totally hidden by grass, so Blick pulled a wedge and committed to a full swing.
“My club stopped at impact and my wrist kept going,” he said.
Blick strained a tendon in his right wrist that day that caused him to miss a week of practice and withdraw from the Goodwin Intercollegiate, Stanford’s home tournament. He worked intensely with a San Jose State trainer to overcome the injury, and gnashed his teeth on the sidelines.
“It was actually killing me at Stanford watching the guys and knowing I couldn’t really help,” he said. “The itch to play kind of came out (at Pasatiempo) these two rounds. I was just glad I could help out the team.”
Blick, it seems, has benefited from seeing both sides of the competition. He’s both more mature and more methodical than he was a year ago, which could explain his improving stats column.
If those numbers are promising, then the intangibles are even more so. San Jose State head coach John Kennaday recognizes something unexplainable and unmeasurable about Blick’s game. He’s the rare player who seems to naturally find the hole.
Said Kennaday, “He’s got that weird little special thing.”