We recently caught up with former Sleepy Eye High School State Champion and current MSU sophomore golfer, Ben Laffen. Coming off a career best finish and a career low round this fall season, safe to say Ben's killling it. We spent our hour talking about Ben's college experience, his recruiting process, and his goals for the future. Catch a snippet of our conversation here, and check out the full interview in the November/December issue of The Golf Project Magazine releasing around Thanksgiving. Here we go!
Caleb: So starting off, how would you say the fall season went? Also, what's your role on the team look like?
Ben: The season went alright; I had my low career round . I also had one of my higher scores in college , so overall it was mediocre. Lots to improve on, but also lots to take away from the good. I was consistently the number 3 golfer on our team. Occasionally I moved up into the number one or two spot, so I'm just starting to take on a little bit of a leadership role.
C: This being your second year on the team, were you more comfortable coming into this season compared to last season as a freshman?
B: For sure, freshman year is a big adjustment. The added comfort level definitely helped me. When you're a freshman everything is new, and one of the biggest adjustments related to golf is length of course. It's a huge adjustment distance-wise. It's not driver, wedge into every green; now it's driver, 7 iron.
C: Another part that was a big adjustment, at least when I was playing, were qualifying rounds. I always thought of qualifying as a mini tournament in itself, where you had to play well if you wanted to travel with the team. What's your approach to qualifying and how similar is that approach to a real tournament?
B: Definitely a big adjustment as well. One of the hardest things right away is going from being 'the guy' in high school and now having to compete each week for a lineup spot. That's gotten a little easier and more comfortable this year, but right away that's tough. I take qualifying just as seriously as any tournament because to play well in the tournament you have to play well in qualifying or you're staying home that week.
C: What's the mindset in qualifying and in tournament play? Do you try to go as low as possible or play it safer and let other guys make the mistakes while you make pars?
B: That's kind of my mindset [to go as low as possible]. I'm playing against the course mainly. I want the other kids in my group to play well too. Obviously I want to beat them, but my main focus is against the course and playing well there. It makes it way more fun when you're entire group is playing well. When I shot 67 at Shangri La [County Club in Oklahoma], my group's scores were -5, -2, -1, +1. It's sick when the highest score in the group is +1.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Best Course You've Played? Shangri La Country Club in Oklahoma
Lowest Tournament Score? 67 this fall
Lowest Ever Score? 65
Bucket List Course? Augusta National
Dream Foursome? Himself, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka
Best Player on Tour? Brooks Koepka ... or Rory McIlroy
Stay tuned for the full interview in the next edition of The Golf Project Magazine where we talk with Ben about college recruiting, playing on different course conditions when travelling, MSU's outlook for the spring season, his goals for the future, and his thoughts on Tiger Woods's 2020 season!