DADE CITY, FL – The UK now carries a new meaning for golfer Ben Stow.
Born and raised in Salsbury, England, Stow joined the University of Kentucky men’s golf team in September 2012 with the intent of competing against the best college players in the United States.
Despite having almost zero experience playing in the US, the 21-year-old entered the USF Invitational at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club eager to begin making his mark this side of the pond.
“There’s so much different culture here and it’s a new challenge for me to come over here and play good golf,” Stow said outside of the Lake Jovita clubhouse following the tournament on Tuesday.
“I’ve played good golf in Europe and I’ve affirmed myself as a good golfer over there so I want to come here and I want people to know my name like they know my name in Europe.”
The 21-year-old finished the three-round tournament tied for 14th place at +1.
Including the 27th-place finish at the Mobile Intercollegiate in Alabama Feb. 17-18, this was the junior’s second career NCAA tournament.
Given his lofty amateur status in Europe – he was ranked second among 21 and under European golfers heading into this season – Stow was critical of himself regarding his performance at Lake Jovita.
“I hit the ball pretty good today, but my game hasn’t quite been on the last two or three weeks. Normally putting is a very good part of my game. I left a few putts on the front nine and then I missed a short one on 18.”
However, a few missed putts are not enough to discourage Stow. The self-assured youth with the powerful tee shot has high expectations.
“Everyone who knows my game well knows that I need to get better at my wedges,” Stow said. “If that part of my game gets a lot better, the sky is the limit.”
Patience and confidence
There were several instances in the round on Tuesday where Stow would take his time to line up a shot.
Whether it is a third shot on the long Par 5, 13th or a par putt on the following hole, he approaches his physical game with the same amount of patience and confidence as he does his mental game.
“You never know what the game is going to throw at you. One day you’re playing great, and the next day you are struggling. You just have to be patient and trust your ability.”
The Englishman has enough experience on the European amateur circuit to understand the challenges of the game here in the United States.
“The thing I really enjoy about tournaments like Alabama and tournaments like this weekend where I haven’t been on my game is that I have to go out there and challenge myself,” said Stow.
“I have to admit that I’m not playing well, I’m not on my game, there’s bits I’m not happy with, but still say ‘how good can I be while not playing with a very good game?’”