INDIANAPOLIS – Brad Hardin will take the 72.
Shooting 2-over at the par-70 Country Club of Indianapolis on Monday put the 43-year-old cardiologist tied for 24th after the first round of the 54-hole Indiana Amateur Championship, the same tournament he won at Sycamore Hills in 1999.
“For me, it went really well. I don't play a lot of tournaments, and I was happy,” Hardin said. “I played really well, I had a few lip-outs, but I hit the ball really well for me. A friend of mine gave me a swing tip on the range, and it really helped me out this week.”
Hardin was about a third of the way through his first round when a thunderstorm blew through around 2 p.m., dumping torrents of rain on the course for a few minutes and delaying play for about 40 minutes.
“I actually three-putted the next green, just from a speed standpoint, so the greens were a lot softer” after the rain, Hardin said.
Austin Vukovits of Noblesville was in the lead at 3-under, and five more players were sitting one stroke behind.
Luke Miller, a Bishop Dwenger graduate and Purdue Fort Wayne golfer, was tied for 30th with a 3-over 73 Fort Wayne's Josh Neal and Garrett Willis, a Homestead graduated and Valparaiso golfer were at 74. Spencer Klimek (Columbia City and University of Indianapolis) and Callahan Elzey (Bishop Dwenger and PFW) were tied for 55th at 5-over 75 and were in position to make the cut of 60 low scorers and ties after today's second round.
Miller, who was playing one of his first real competitive rounds since last August because of a back injury, was on his fourth hole of the day when the horn blew to announce the weather delay.
“I struggled on the front nine, and on the back nine I kind of got it together,” said Miller, who shot a 1-under 34 on the back half of his round. “It obviously got wet out there, and I had to adjust what I was doing. I had trouble holding the greens a little bit, it was spinning everything off the green. So club selection changed a little bit into the greens.
“It's hard here, because you don't want to be above the pin, but I kind of had to throw it up there.”
Logan Ryan, the 2018 IHSAA state champion for Bishop Dwenger who now plays for Emory, was tied for 77th at 7-over, as was his former high school teammate and current Cleveland State player Jonny Filler.
“I'm not too happy with that, I think I could've played a whole lot better,” Ryan said. “I haven't been driving the ball great, hit my irons very well, so I think I need to clean up my ball-striking. The putter's there, I just wasn't hitting many greens today.”
Ryan had one of the later tee times of the day, and several of the golfers who played in the afternoon said the greens became unpredictable after the heavy rain.
“It made the course a whole lot softer, and already having so many groups going through, the greens had spike marks everywhere. It's tough not to have, with so many players in the field,” Ryan said. “You had to put a good roll on the ball, and hopefully it went in. It was kind of a guessing game.”
Hardin said he was able to get out and compete this week because he's a member of the Indiana Golf Association board, which typically holds a meeting the Monday of the amateur championship. As a former winner, he has a standing exemption to play in the tournament.
“Competing against the kids who are 25 years younger than me, it's great,” Hardin said. “It's fun to see them represent, to have people from the (Fort Wayne) area be able to play and be competitive. I look over to them, and I can't hit it with them anymore, but I remember being that age, and now it's their turn to be the young bucks and be competitive, be at the top of the leader board.”
Indianapolis Country Club
Austin Vukovits 67
Brad Hardin 72
Luke Miller 73
Josh Neal 74
Garrett Willis 74
Spencer Klimek 75
Callahan Elzey 75
Jonny Filler 77
Logan Ryan 77
Nick Holder 79
Corey Ryan 79
Zach Borntreger 83