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Starting late but finishing first (VIDEO)

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
May 26, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.

Mark Bazan watches his drive after his hit during the Victoria City Golf Championships at the Victoria Country Club. Bazan won the event last year.

Mark Bazan never thought about playing golf. Baseball was the sport he enjoyed.

Though Bazan, 36, didn't play for his high school baseball team, he played in an organized league.

"I didn't know anything about golf," said the Victoria High School graduate.

But since learning how to play golf in his early twenties, the four-time Victoria City Golf Championship winner has enjoyed every bit of the game.

Competing in his seventh city championship, Bazan has taken a liking to competing in the event. This year, he seems likely to have a chance to win his fifth championship.

Bazan shot a 79 on Saturday and a 72 on Sunday, good for third place overall after the second round of competition. He currently sits behind UHV golfers Steve Jones and Vance Edwards, who is in first place.

"This year, there's a lot more younger players," he said. "You got guys shooting a 69."

Bazan said he got hooked on playing golf since the moment he played one round with his brother. He does enjoy playing in the city championship.

"You're playing in your hometown," said the Victoria native, who works in his family's tortilla business. "It's hanging out with your buddies. It's competitive."

Bazan's brother, Ray, 41, showed his younger brother how to play. Practicing how to putt and chip the ball went into Bazan's development.

"He thought it was easy," Ray said. "He realized it was hard, and he wanted to excel. I thought he would have quit after a while, but he proved me wrong."

Jeffrey Fonseca is a friend of Bazan and has played with him. Paired with Bazan on Sunday, Fonseca has tried to play with him when they both have time off from work.

"He's a natural player," Fonseca, 37, said. "His demeanor is the biggest strength in his game because he's so calm. When you play with Mark, you're going to have a good time. He's fun to be around."

Fonseca said that he's tried to learn some techniques from Bazan to add to his game - particularly, not being distracted when playing.

"I learn to not worry about what everyone is doing," he said. "We all have our ups and downs when you play."

Bazan said he's become a smarter golfer by not being aggressive and tries to place the ball in certain spots on a golf course to avoid difficulty.

Bazan said he knows he is not a professional golfer - he's competed against some before - but enjoys the game no matter how good or bad he plays.

"You're not relying on anyone else. You have to make the putt," he said. "You play good; it's because you played good. You play bad; it's because you played bad. It's not anyone's fault."



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