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Stewart: Moore wants more golf

The first thing I noticed about Blake Moore when we met at Matt Denny’s Ale House for lunch was that his cap was askew. But after spending some time with him I think I can safely assume his head is screwed on straight.

Larry Stewart

Larry Stewart

At least Blake knows what he wants – and that is to become a successful pro golfer. He has been totally devoted to that goal, to that obsession, for the past 2½ years.  He has had moderate success playing on mini tours and in local tournaments, winning a handful of titles along the way while awaiting the big break that will lead him to the big show – the PGA Tour.

That big break may have arrived in the form of a “Big Break.” As noted in an earlier blog, Blake will be one of 12 male contestants competing for an exemption into a PGA Tour tournament and other prizes on the Golf Channel‘s next edition of its popular “Big Break” series.

This one, titled “Big Break Disney Golf,” begins a 10-week run on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 10 p.m. Eastern Time and 7 p.m. Pacific Time. The shows were taped over a two-week period in July, but Blake is sworn to secrecy and can’t reveal how he did. Our gut feeling is he did pretty well.

He’s got all the tools. He consistently hits 300-yard-plus drives, hits fairway approach shots with pinpoint accuracy, takes on bunker shots with confidence and can chip and putt.

Also, he’s got plenty of family support. Michael Eichstedt, who came into Blake’s life about 10 years ago when he started dating Blake’s mother Marti Moore, has been a big help. Eichstedt, who set up our lunch interview session, is formerly a teaching pro at Santa Anita Golf Course.

Blake Moore, course record-holder at Santa Anita Golf Course

Blake Moore, course record-holder at Santa Anita Golf Course

Blake lives with his mother and Michael in Monrovia but remains close to his father, Keith, who owns a small industrial chemical business in City of Industry. “I have a great relationship with my father,” Blake said. Blake’s mother and father and Michael all get along and share a common goal – Blake’s success. It makes for an unusual family support group.

Keith, reached by phone, said: “Blake is a natural athlete and a great competitor. He could have excelled at any sport — soccer, baseball, basketball. But after I got him into a junior program at Rancho Duarte Golf Course, he began concentrating on golf.”

To illustrate his son’s competitiveness, Keith Moore told this story: “When he was seven years old, I bought him a pogo stick. At first, he had trouble with it, just couldn’t keep it going. But when I came home the next day, there he was out in the backyard going up and down 100, 200 times without stopping. He didn’t give up until he had perfected it.”

If there is one thing Blake may need to work on to perfect his golf game, it could be his temperament. At least that’s the indication from press material sent to me by the Golf Channel. “I do have a bit of a temper,” he told Golf Channel publicist Mark Mitchell. “I’m sure that anyone who plays with me can attest that I get pretty heated.  But I am being myself, and I do show passion.”

However, over lunch at Matt Denny’s, the handsome 25-year-old was calm, cool and courteous as he talked about his golf career. At La Salle High School in Pasadena, he became one of the best high school golfers in Southern California, and got a number of scholarship offers before deciding on the University of Colorado. Things didn’t go real well for Blake at Colorado, so when he was done with school he chose to tackle the business world rather than pursue a career in golf.

 He entered an internship training program with Countrywide Financial Mortgage and lived with 40 other young people in an apartment complex in Simi Valley. “We were basically going to school for six months while getting paid,” Blake said. Blake finished the program and was offered a full-time job in sales. “But the day I was offered the job, I turned it down,” he said. “My heart wasn’t in it.” He knew then what he really wanted to do – give golf his all and turn pro.

He’s now either playing in a tournament or practicing every day. He drives from his home in Monrovia to Angeles National in Sunland for his three-to-five hour practice sessions because he likes the facilities there.

 One problem, as is the case with most young prospective golf pros, is money. Blake needs to raise at least $65,000 a year to cover expenses. He has a few investors and one sponsor — Loudmouth Golf, which also sponsors John Daly. So if sometime in the near future you see Blake Moore on TV wearing some wild and loud pants while playing in PGA Tour events, you’ll know why. He probably won’t mind if you giggle a little. He’ll have the satisfaction of knowing he accomplished what he set out to do. (Up next: A blog on Kevin Erdman, an Arcadia native and also a La Salle High graduate who, amazingly, is also one of the 12 competitors on the “Big Break Disney Golf” show that begins a 10-week run on the Golf Channel Tuesday, Oct. 13.)

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