DESTIN — Blake Rigdon admits his game needed an overhaul.
His swing mechanics were off — he was dipping his body down too quickly, too deep on the down swing.
His course management was off.
His health was off – a knee injury sidelining him for four weeks.
As the start to his junior season loomed, the reigning Player of the Year was hurting literally and mentally.
"I would say I was lazy," Rigdon said. "It was projected to be a big summer for me but then I had to take my medicine. I had a summer swing change where I had to tweak my body alignment and then I got hurt and I couldn’t do anything but heal my knee for like four weeks.
"I learned a lot. I learned that if I wanted it, I’d have to work for it."
So he went to work.
He implemented a putting mirror tool to fix his biggest weakness.
He took up surfing, which strengthened his core, and built muscle mass and added club head speed to push him past 300 yards off the tee.
And his course research turned more cerebral – where to miss, what slopes to play, what areas to avoid for the crooked numbers.
Slowly but surely, his swing returned to form.
Come the Miracle Strip Invitational at Fort Walton Beach Golf Club, it all came together.
Rigdon had a birdie-birdie finish to card a 2-under-70, good enough to best the nearly 100-man field and earn top-medalist honors.
"That was probably the high point," Rigdon said.
Soon after it became a series of high points.
Rigdon won the Okaloosa County title in a playoff over teammate Parker Milam and Fort Walton Beach’s Eddie Lee.
The 5-foot-10, 152-pound shot-maker carded a school-record, 5-under-par 31 at Eglin Golf Course.
Then he, along with Milam, Dylan Hopper and Bryce Ingram, carded a 72 at districts.
After a 76 at regionals to help the Eagles qualify for the program’s first-ever trip to state, Rigdon carded a team-low 76 at state and finished tied with Milam with a two-day 156.
The county crown, a school-record 31, the Miracle Strip title and a team-low round at state … added up, however circuitous a path it may have been, Rigdon was able to defend his Male Golfer of the Year crown.
"I’m shocked," he said. "I didn’t really feel like I did my best. I knew after last year the follow-up would bring pressure, so I’m just thrilled. This was No. 1 on my list."
No. 2? An offer from Troy, which came days after he was notified of his second straight Golfer of the Year honor.
"Everything’s improving, I can tell you that," Rigdon said. "I would say I’m more mature. Last year I would just free will it, but now I’m focused."
So we shouldn’t expect another overhaul this offseason, Blake?
"I’m happy where my game is headed," he said. "Now it’s going to be a lot of travel, I can say that. I’m gonna play as much as I can."