When Mike Slaven played his first U.S. Amateur in 2002, golf consumed his life. At the time, Slaven was a college player at Miami (Ohio), and he considered pursuing golf as a profession. But after finishing up in Oxford, Slaven gave the game a rest. "I Stopped playing competitively," said the 2000 New Trier graduate. "It was mainly because of burnout. I worked so hard at it for so long."
Slowly, Slaven started to miss the
game and decided to re-enter the
world of amateur golf. Slaven qualified for the US. Mid-Amateur for past
two years. And nearly a decade after
his first appearnce at the U.S. Amateur, Slaven played his way back to
one of golf's biggest events.
"I took about a four-year hiatus,"
said the 29-year old, who works as
a real estate developer and lives in
downtown Chicago. "But I got the
itch again, and I started working on
At Erin Hills, in Wisconsin, Slaven
shot 75-71 for a 146 and missed the
match-play cut by four strokes. He
finished in the top half of the 3l5-player field dominated by college players. Patrick Cantlay, the consensus
top-ranked amateur in the world, is a
sophomore at UCLA
"I am able to enjoy it more now,"
said Slaven, who plays at Olympic
Fields. "I love golf more now than
I did when I was a kid, and I think I
am a better player than I have been. I had a really tremendous experience this time. I have matured a lot since I played the first one."
Slaven at one time struggled with
his game. But before his sophomore
year at New Trier, he visited teaching
pro Joe Boscq a fixture on the North
Shore. Bosco helped Slaven unlock
his natural ability.
"He was far away from the talent
pool at New Trier," Bosco said. But
Mchael was a good athlete, and he
was dedicated to the game.
Slaven went on to the win the state
championship as a senior in 1999. He's one of two Trevians to win a state title, along with Bernie Magnusssen (1955).
'Joe really shaped me as a player,"
said Slaven, who on Friday recorded
his first hole-in-one while playing at
Green Acres in Northbrook. "He was
not only a swing coach to me but he
shaped me as a player, mentally, to be
able to handle the pressures of amateur golf and to compete at the highest level. I wouldn't be where I am
today without him."
Next up, Slaven will attempt to
qualify for his third consecutive U.S.
Mid-Amateur this year at Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Richmond, Texas, September 17-22.