Andy Rang had shown in past years that he has the tools to win the Senior City Championship. He just hadn’t proved he could be a closer on the last 18 holes.
On Monday, he left no doubt.
Rang shot back-to-back, even-par 71s at Orchard Ridge Country Club to win the Senior Golf Association of Fort Wayne’s marquee tournament. He bested the runner-up, Sean Ferguson, by two strokes on the 6,252-yard course, which had intermittent rain for two days and lots of wind Monday.
“It’s rewarding,” said Rang, 54, who is the women’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Angola’s Trine University. “I’ve been trying to win this the last (four years) and I’d come close, so to finally finish it out in really tough conditions was great. The wind was really swirling and you just had to be committed to what you’re doing.
“I made some putts and that, of course, always helps. It’s satisfying. I had a really good summer playing and I’m excited about this.”
Rang has played in the Senior City four times – he missed one year due to illness – and he came into this year with a track record of terrific rounds. Probably the best was his first Senior City round, a 4-under 68 at Coyote Creek Golf Club to become the first-round leader in 2018, when he ultimately placed second behind David Dumas.
This time, it was Rang’s consistency, amid Mother Nature’s taunts, that got him the trophy. No one shot under par in the final round and only Rang, Ferguson and Kip Barker posted 71s.
“That’s really my game. I don’t make a lot of birdies. I just try to be real steady,” Rang said. “That’s what I told myself today: ‘Just try to be steady. Hit greens, try to hit fairways, and just try to make putts when they’re available. If they’re not, just two-putt, get out and just keep moving.’ But that wind was tricky, it was really tricky. I’m not usually a great wind player, but today I managed.”
Ron Schmucker finished third at 4 over with a final-round 76, strengthened by a birdie on the par-4 18th hole.
Karl Behrens carded a 79 to finish fourth at 5 over. Behrens, who was the runner-up to David Belville in 2021, came into Monday atop the leader board with a two-stroke lead on Schmucker and a three-stroke advantage over Rang.
As an NCAA Division III basketball coach, Rang is no stranger to dealing with the pressure of athletics, especially when it comes to advising players on how to tune out distractions, use their strengths and embrace challenges.
But golf is a different animal from basketball.
“This year, (Trine’s basketball team) went to the Final Four and coaching in the Final Four, there’s pressure there. But it’s a little different pressure when you’re out there all by yourself, you know what I mean?” Rang said. “I try to tell my son (Carter), who’s a golfer at Trine, that there’s no one who can substitute you out and you’ve got to do it yourself. You’ve got to try to find a way.
“So, the thing about team sports is that you can get picked up by someone else. Someone on your team can pick you up. But you’re all alone on the golf course and sometimes you’ve got to dig down deep and try to find it. But the pressure, I felt real calm today. I just felt calm and told myself to just keep plugging along.”
Derek Schneider and Kory Witmer tied for fifth place at 7 over with matching 76s Monday.
Barker placed seventh at 8 over. And Matt Schmidt was eighth at 10 over with a final-round 79.
Belville shot an 80 Monday to tie for 12th place at 13 over in the tournament, which has taken place annually since 1992.
It was supposed to be held at Orchard Ridge on Sept 11 and 12, but was postponed two weeks because of inclement weather.