For the best competition in senior golf, look no further than the Maryland men

George Washburn only tells part of the story but luckily John Blank fills in the details. After an opening 79 at the Golfweek U.S. Super Senior, Legends, & Super Legends National Championship at the Falls Club in Lake Worth, Florida, on Thursday, Washburn bemoaned his putter.

“My putting has been a problem all summer,” Washburn said.

Blank, meanwhile, sings the praises of Washburn’s driver. Couple it with short game, and it’s easy to see how Washburn continually lands among the top-ranked seniors in the country. When both those parts of Washburn’s game are humming, Blank said, the man is unbeatable.

Blank, 73, should know. He’s right there with him at the top. So far in 2020, Washburn, 74, is the top-ranked player in the legends division (players age 70 to 74) according to the Golfweek Senior Rankings.

Leaderboard: Golfweek U.S. Super Senior, Legends, & Super Legends National Championship

Blank, of Frostburg, Maryland, and Washburn, of Frederick, Maryland, have traded that No. 1 spot back and forth these past two seasons. The top two players in the super senior rankings, John Armstrong and Jim Castagna, also hail from Maryland. Armstrong and Blank live minutes apart in Frostburg. Blank says they practice relentlessly together, compete and push each other.

“We feed off of each other and I guess it’s the competition,” Blanks said of the Maryland senior phenomenon.

Blank’s game shines around the greens.

“I don’t hit the ball that far but if my short game, wedges and chipping and putting is on, then I can compete with anybody in our division,” he said.

His even-par 72 in the opening round of the Golfweek Senior left him in second, behind only Charley Yandell of Cashiers, North Carolina, who came in with an opening 70.

Blank calls Washburn, his fellow Maryland stalwart, the tactician. Washburn is the guy who scouts courses on Google Earth and keeps track of the points standings from one tournament to the next.

“If I have any questions on who’s ahead or how many am I behind, he’ll know the answer,” Blank said.

Elite senior amateurs like Washburn and Blank could find a dedicated tournament to tee it up in nearly every week of the year. Some were canceled or postponed in light of COVID, but Blank will still get in 11 starts this year. He played 19 times in 2019.

Blank, who has never tried to qualify for a USGA event, still works part-time in the family business, Blank’s Tavern. He has lived in Frostburg his whole life, having grown up there and played one year on the varsity team at Frostburg State University.

Washburn, a retired engineer who spent his career working for Bechtel, played three years of college golf at Penn State from 1965-68. He played in the 1967 NCAA Championship. Despite qualifying for the national tournament again the next year, Washburn didn’t

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By: Julie Williams
Title: For the best competition in senior golf, look no further than the Maryland men
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Published Date: Fri, 09 Oct 2020 15:04:18 +0000

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