It was a blast.
That’s how Ben Blase describes the St. Louis Priory golf team’s season, winning every match and ending the spring season with a Class 3 state championship.
“Ever since the beginning of the season we knew we had something special,” said Blase, who finished 10th in the individual scores for the state tournament. “The way the guys bonded throughout the season made it a lot of fun. We were lucky enough to all play solid in the state tournament and get it done.”
It’s just the second state title for Priory in golf, and was the second state title in sports last school year for Priory, following a championship in soccer.
Blase isn’t sitting around this summer, however. He’s headed to Wheaton College in the suburbs of Chicago next month where he’ll play on the golf team, so he’s out on the links this summer.
He began playing golf when he was about 5 years old, hanging around courses with his dad and enjoying spending time with him. “I never thought I’d be a successful golfer or anything,” Blase said. “But over the past four or five years I’ve gained a lot of friends through golf and I think those friends inspired me to practice. It’s a lot of fun with them and that’s what inspired me throughout high school to be a good player.”
He took his role as a team leader seriously but admits it was easy because of his teammates; talent and character. “We had fun and inspired each other to do the best we could,” he said.
Blase, a parishioner of Ascension in Chesterfield, said his faith helped him with a key part of his game — patience. “When you are a faithful Catholic, which I am, you can rely on God when times are hard, on the golf course knowing that God is with you at all times and that you’re going to be OK in the end no matter how this round transpires,” he said, adding that a positive outlook helps bring his golf game to the next level.
He’ll be a spectator the upcoming PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis County, where he’s played some rounds with teammates.
Gulshan Kodwani, a senior this fall at Priory, won the individual first-place medal in the state tournament. He also was taught to play golf by his dad at a young age. He started playing golf in the CYC program in the seventh grade at Priory, and that’s when he realized he had a knack for it.
He’s focused this summer on volunteer work at DePaul Hospital and with Variety. With plans to be a pre-med major in college, he’s shadowing doctors to observe their work. Helping at Variety, a charity serving children with physical and developmental disabilities, is rewarding because he enjoys the enthusiasm and gratitude of the children.
Kodwani also will be at Bellerive to watch the professionals. He’s looking forward to next season but will miss the leadership of Blase, a role model for him on and off the course.
Peter Weaver, an incoming junior at Priory, finished in second place in the individual scores at the state tournament. He’s busy once again playing golf, a sport he enjoys because of its unpredictability. “Every shot is different, and it’s a different course pretty much every time,” he said.
He appreciates his teammates, noting that they advised him to “stay in the moment, don’t get ahead of yourself and play your best golf. They’ve been good to me, for sure.”
Weaver played baseball before focusing just on golf the past few years. He called Priory “a special place. We all feel like family.”
He’s volunteering at the PGA Championship at Bellerive and will appreciate watching the pro players on course where he’s played.