After NCCGA title, Short will find familiarity at SE Am

Mason Short with dad Jerry after winning the individual title at the NCCGA National Championship.

As soon as Mason Short finished classes on April 25, he left the West Virginia campus and started heading northeast. On that Friday evening, Short, joined by his dad Jerry, fell back into an old tradition from junior-golf days gone by.

Mason, a sophomore at West Virginia who inherited the presidency of the university’s club golf team earlier in the year, had qualfied for the National Collegiate Club Golf Association spring finale as an individual. His team had barely missed advancing from the Atlantic region, so Short went to rep the the Mountaineers alone at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, N.J.

As his dad watched, Short posted 3-over 146 (72-74) on that rainy weekend at Crystal Springs, and won the individual title by one shot. After growing up playing at Cedar Point Golf Club hear his home in Waldorf, Md., the wind and bad weather Short had to play through in New Jersey seemed normal.

“It was really just whoever could tough it out for the weekend was going to come out on top,” he said later.

(Check out his winning clubs here)

For the Shorts, the NCCGA National Championship weekend was similar to the way many weekends were spent when Mason was a kid. Father and son often would drive around the eastern part of the country together, chasing junior tournaments in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“I can’t even express how awesome it was,” Mason said. “We haven’t been out for a weekend like that in a long time.”

Thanks to his individual title at Crystal Springs, Short now has a spot in the Southeastern Amateur, a prestigious amateur event to be played June 11-14 at the Country Club of Columbus, a Donald Ross design in Columbus, Ga. It’s shaping up to be a good summer as Short dives back into competitive golf.

Upon graduating high school in 2012, Short joined the golf roster at the University of Maryland. His solo start that season came at the Maryland Intercollegiate, where Short played as an individual. At the end of the year, Short realized he was looking for something different in college, so he transferred to West Virginia.

“I was just looking for a change,” Short said. “Nothing really good or bad, just looking for a change and I found it. I love West Virginia. I love the people, the atmosphere, it’s a great place to be.”

The transfer, of course, meant there would be no varsity golf for at least two years. West Virginia is in the process of creating a team – Sean Covich was named head coach earlier this month – but competition doesn’t start until the 2015-16 season. Short has been watching that process closely and was excited to see a coach put in place. For him, an opportunity to walk on to that team would be a dream come true.

The announcement that the university would bring back the golf team, which was eliminated in 1982, has created a noticeable buzz around campus, according to Short.

“The golf presence at West Virginia has been very strong for a long time,” he said.

Short had only played club golf for a semester when he was elected president of West Virginia’s team in the spring. That has satisfied many of his competitive yearnings.

“It’s big to come out here,” Short said of the NCCGA finals. “... It’s very competitive, a lot of the best club golf players, so it’s pretty good to compete against those guys.”

At the Southeastern Amateur, he’ll see the next level – a familiar one for him. The tournament, now in its 85th year, draws top Division I players from around the country. Georgia Tech’s Seth Reeves, who won back-to-back tournaments for the Yellow Jackets this fall, won the Southeastern each of the past two years.

The Southeastern Amateur makes a good addition to Short’s traditional summer tournament schedule of Maryland amateur events. He played U.S. Open local qualifying at Clustered Spires Golf Club in Frederick, Md., on May 14 (but failed to advance), and also will try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, as usual.

“This amateur event is just another really nice tournament that I’ve been given the opportunity to get in to, so I’m really happy about that,” Short said of the Southeastern Amateur.

Something says dad is too, and that he’ll be watching with pride.

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