Committing After the AJGA Amundi Evian Senior Showcase

2/26 CGC Staff

For many athletes in the class of 2024, signing day was a celebration of the college commitment they had made within the prior year and a half. Some had the luxury of securing their verbal commitment early in the summer of 2023, and others may have committed the day before they signed. Regardless of their timeline, these athletes all had a college that they could call ‘home’ in the fall of 2024. While signing day was a celebration for some, there were many golfers who were still trying to find the college and golf team that was their perfect fit. For those golfers, the AJGA Amundi Evian Senior Showcase, held in Las Vegas right before the GCAA’s national coach’s convention, gave them the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a large number of coaches who were still looking to fill their rosters for 2024. The Senior Showcase has been mutually beneficial for athletes and coaches for many years, as coaches can discover athletes that may not have been on their radar, and athletes may be introduced to programs that they may not have previously considered. Some athletes also use the Senior showcase as a final effort to show a coach that they can perform up to the coach’s standards.

There are many reasons an athlete may not have found their perfect match so late in the recruiting process. Some may be late bloomers who picked up the game of golf in high school, missing the prime window of opportunity during the recruiting process. Others may have not known the right tournaments to play in or when to contact coaches with the right information. Some golfers may have set their sights on schools that don’t fit their skill set, and others may have been just plain unlucky. We talked to three athletes who were fortunate to perform well at the Senior Showcase and secure a college commitment following the tournament, and they provided some insight into their recruiting experiences.

California native Alex Elia finished tied for 16th on the Painted Desert Course in the 78 player field. Though his goal was a top-5 finish, he performed well enough to make an impression on several coaches. He says, “Going in I had one school coming to watch that I knew of, and the other school I had been talking to surprised me by coming out. I wanted a top five because I knew it would help me get a little more traction.” His performance helped him secure a commitment from Vanguard University in his home state. Elia had been struggling a bit during the recruiting process, stating “Every day had been a challenge getting coaches to really understand who I am as a person and player. Phone calls, texts emails. All of it was very difficult.”

University of Arkansas signee Natalie Blonien, though a highly ranked and accomplished recruit, also described how difficult the process was for her, “The recruiting process was tough for me. I started kind of late, so it made things harder for me as well. I am a very young 16-year-old senior, so there were many coaches that thought I was in the recruiting class of 2025 because of my age. I didn’t get many schools trying to recruit me until later this year.” Blonien had very high goals going into the Senior Showcase, noting “I wanted to show myself that I was good enough to be at the top in a huge tournament that was going to mean a lot for my future career. I grinded so hard back home practicing every day for hours, because I knew that this was my last big tournament for the fall and my biggest one to really show some schools my game and how I compete.” That hard work paid off, as Blonien won the event in a two-hole playoff and received the offer from Arkansas shortly after. The tournament was a great opportunity to showcase her talents in front of coaches from all over the world and “They were all very nice and friendly to my family and me. They wanted me to know that I wasn’t alone in the process, and they all wanted to help.”

During his recruitment, Californian Quinn Murray had been struggling contacting and emailing coaches, and his goals were to “Show off my mental game and play smart golf and try to introduce myself to every coach I saw with a firm handshake.” Murray finished third on the Legacy course with two rounds under par, helping finalize a commitment to the University of Hawaii. He was lucky to talk to a few of the ‘12-15’ coaches he saw after his round, and he described it as ‘a really cool experience.’

“I had been in contact with the Hawaii coach, and because of the college golf convention it was the perfect time for Scott to come watch me play. He had seen me play my worst golf and then in Vegas he saw me play some of my best. He told me my character and attitude really convinced him to make him an offer to me.”- Quinn Murray

All three athletes had been talking to the coaches from their future schools before the Senior Showcase, but none had received offers. This AJGA event is the perfect opportunity for coaches to evaluate athletes due to the timing of the convention. “The Vanguard coach came out and watched me and it sealed his belief in me. I committed two weeks later. He told me he wanted to offer on the spot in Vegas but let me have some time back home before doing so,” says Elia. Blonien had already been on the coach from Arkansas’ radar and adds “We had been talking and getting to know each other and the program very well. The Senior Showcase was the first time Coach Shauna was able to come and watch me. Knowing she was coming to watch, I wanted to perform and play how I knew I was capable of playing and I did just that. Even though I won the tournament, that wasn’t the most important thing for coaches to see. Coaches want to see how you play of course, but they also want to see how you react, how you treat others, how you carry yourself, and much more, they look at the little things. In the end, how you represent yourself is how you're going to represent their team, so they want to know you're a good fit for their program.” Murray also shared that his character had a big effect on the Hawaii coach offering him a spot on the team, “I had been in contact with him, and because of the college golf convention it was the perfect time for Scott to come watch me play. He had seen me play my worst golf and then in Vegas he saw me play some of my best. He told me my character and attitude really convinced him to make him an offer to me.”


Seeing many of their classmates make commitments in the past year and a half was difficult for these athletes, and we asked them how they were able to stay motivated to find the school that fit them the best, while they knew roster spots may be limited. Elia, who started golf late in his youth, notes “Staying motivated was a challenge that I accepted. I have only been playing golf for four years and I’ve always been on a time clock. Everyone around me has been committing but that pushed me more, and it taught me to expand my horizons further than division 1 golf.” Murray was also motivated, stating “Seeing other kids in my class commit discouraged me but also motivated me. I knew I was running out of time and needed to get my game together. I kept praying and trusted in God.” When we looked at Blonien’s impressive resume from the past year, it was surprising to us that she committed so late. She was able to keep a level head even though it was hard, saying “It was very discouraging knowing that all my friends were committing, and I still didn’t even know what my top three schools were. The thing that my family and I have said through this whole process is ‘We don’t know why these things are happening, but it’s all a part of God’s plan’ and I truly believe that. All it took was patience and the right timing.”

Going into the Senior Showcase, it would be normal for a golfer to put a lot of pressure on themself to perform well. We asked the three athletes if they were able to keep their nerves in check, and Murray and Elia said yes, but nerves were present. Elia notes ‘I always tell myself I have to feel some nerves going into an event or else I’m doing something wrong.’ Murray adds, “I was so nervous on the first tee both days, I knew I had been striking it well and playing good golf, but you can’t practice that tournament feeling. I just wanted to have fun to keep myself relaxed and get to know my playing partners.”


Blonien, on the other hand, was excited, noting “It was very nice to be able to play well and earn my first AJGA win. I had a lot of my friends and family ask me if I’d be nervous competing with girls from all over the world and so many colleges coming to follow me. My answer was no, because I knew how hard I had been working and I knew I had to go up there and give everything I had to perform at my best.”

Thank you to our participants for taking the time to answer our questions. Hopefully their experiences can motivate those of you who may be at the same point in the recruiting process next year and can take advantage of the Senior Showcase and the benefits it has to offer. Some closing advice:

Natalie Blonien, University of Arkansas: Stay patient! I know it seems tough but hang in there. Keep playing your game, working hard, and keep contacting the coaches you want to play for, and if you don’t know where you want to go it’s okay. There will be somewhere for you! Good things come to those who wait.

Quinn Murray, University of Hawaii: Don’t ever give up, even when you are playing bad and think there is nobody that’ll give you a chance. If you are good enough you will be found by a school.

Alex Elia, Vanguard University: To any recruit, stay grounded. The right opportunity will come. Stay respectful and open and be persistent. No matter where you end up, have the right mindset to grow.