One-on-one with John Lazor '19

by Max Kanefield | 4/24/16 5:12pm

John Lazor '19 finished 17th at the Ivy League championships this past weekend.

It is not typical for a freshman to come in and play a major role in a team’s success, but that’s exactly what John Lazor ’19 has been doing since he stepped on campus in the fall. In the spring, he surpassed a strong fall season that saw him create a young 1-2 punch with teammate Ian Kelsey ’18.

Lazor’s game this term has been consistently at the top of the League, perhaps peaking at the Yale Invitational. Lazor took home honors as the top golfer in the 36-hole tournament, firing a 73-70 that placed him at the top of the field and guided Dartmouth to a narrow third place finish. The Dartmouth sat down with Lazor in the midst of his and his team’s quest for the Ivy League crown to get his thoughts on his rookie season and early success. At the Ivy League championships this past weekend, the men’s team finished four strokes behind Harvard University to take second place. Lazor shot 232 (+16) to finish 17th individually.

How did it feel to win your first tournament and to do it as a freshman?

JL: It feels really good. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence going into this week. Knowing that I can play at a top level gave me a lot of confidence in my game. It was a one day tournament playing 36 holes, which meant 10 hours on the golf course. It was pretty tough mentally but being able to play well through that gave me confidence that I can push through mental fatigue.

Did you expect to win a tournament outright as a freshman? Was that your goal heading into the season?

JL: I mostly try to focus one round at a time. Going into the tournament I knew I had a chance to do really well — I had been doing well the week before and putting really well. Playing 36 holes is tough for a lot of people to do, but [it helped] to know that I have been strong there and played a lot of rounds like that through the years. It’s not something that you expect, but mentally you need to have the confidence to know that it can be done.

How has the spring season compared to the fall? Do you feel like you hit your stride early on in the season?

JL: Fall and spring feel completely different. In the fall you’re coming off the summer, where you’re playing almost every day and playing in competitive tournaments. In the spring, we really only get to do lifting and some indoor hitting and putting — so spring trips down south at the start of the season were really helpful in getting back to speed quickly. The course opened a few weeks early, which gave us great chance to get work in around the greens.

How helpful were those trips to the South early in the season?

JL: In the past, the team didn’t go South too many times, so it seemed a lot different this year. We’d be gone four to five days a week, so we would get a lot of time to practice, especially when our course wasn’t open. It definitely helped with strengthening our game early so that we hit the ground running

What do you think has been the strongest part of your game this season?

JL: I think it has been my putting. I have been putting really well the last three weeks. I’ve been able to make a lot more putts inside of 30 feet, which is really important for my game in order to make a few more birdies and saving some pars. So, I would say [the strongest parts are my] putting and short game, which has been what coach has stretched this season. Before we can hit the range, he makes us start practice with a lot of wedge, chipping and putting drills. Coming out of that, my short game has really excelled this spring even more than the fall. It was pretty surprising, since I had all this time to practice and play in the summer. I definitely put a lot more time in the winter into practicing my putting, which I think has paid off this spring season.

This interview has been edited for clarity.