INDIANAPOLIS – Heading into this week's Indiana Amateur Championship, several qualifiers said the greens at the host course, the Country Club of Indianapolis, were notably tricky.
That knowledge hasn't made putting easier for several Fort Wayne golfers at the state championship.
“I think I didn't make anything outside of 6 feet,” said Homestead graduate Garrett Willis, who is tied for 40th after two days at 9-over. “So it's a tough golf course if you don't play it a ton, and guys who are familiar with this golf course definitely have the upperhand over people who don't live in this area.”
Former Bishop Dwenger player Logan Ryan said he “had a few more putts drop” on Tuesday as he shot a 2-over 72, a sizable improvement over the 77 he shot in the first round. Like Willis, he is 9-over heading into the final round.
“Compared to most of the guys, I'm missing more greens, so I'm at least chipping it closer than where they're starting from,” Ryan said. “But speed control is big out here, with all the humps and undulations on the green. You've really just got to focus on speed control. And if you're not hanging the putt, it's got to stay within two feet of the hole, otherwise you're going to be working all day long.”
Luke Miller, who shot 72 on Tuesday and is tied for 24th at 5-over, agreed that the best way to have putting success at the club is to avoid setting yourself up for difficult putts in the first place.
“Being on the right side of the hole is important. If you can have an uphill putt, obviously that's what you're looking for every time,” said Miller, a former Bishop Dwenger and current Purdue Fort Wayne player. “It actually goes back to your iron shots and placement shots a little bit, and making sure you're getting them in spots where you at least give yourself a chance to make it. So I think I did a pretty decent chance at that today, and made the putting seem a little bit easier that it was.”
Brad Hardin, a Fort Wayne doctor and the 1999 Indiana Amateur champion, shot a 73 on Tuesday and is at 5-over heading into the final day. He and Miller are the top Fort Wayne-area performers after two rounds.
Austin Vukovits, a Cathedral graduate who is now a sophomore golfer at Mississippi State, repeated his 3-under round from Monday and leads the field at 6-under heading into today's final round. Noah Gillard of Greenwood is alone in second at 5-under, and three players are tied at 3-under.
Callahan Elzey, a Bishop Dwenger graduate who recently completed his senior year at Purdue Fort Wayne, shot 72 on Tuesday and is now at 7-over, well under the cut at 12-over.
“I would say I just put myself in better positions. There's a huge, huge plus in hitting fairways,” Elzey said. “You have to hit the fairways out here, or else you're not going to play very well. So I tried all day to just get it in the fairway, and I think that helped a lot.”
Spencer Klimek, a Columbia City graduate, heads into the final round at 10-over, and Josh Neal is 11-over.
Bishop Dwenger graduate Jonny Filler improved by one shot over Monday's 77, but his two-day score of 153 put him one stroke over the cut.
Miller, who is playing in his first tournament since last August, said he is just hoping for quote “more of the same” in today's final round.
“Hopefully the scores go down a little bit, but I'm going to go home, get some sleep, hopefully see some of my buddies,” Miller said. “We're going to practice a little bit later. Maybe that's part of it, we went and putted last night. Maybe that helped a little bit. Same thing, keeping in the moment and not getting too worried about anything.”
Country Club of Indianapolis
1. Austin Vukovits 67-67 – 134
T24. Luke Miller 73-72 – 145
T24. Brad Hardin 72-73 – 145
T33. Callahan Elzey, 75-72 – 147
T40. Garrett Willis, 74-75 –149
T40. Logan Ryan, 77-72 – 149
T48. Spencer Klimek, 75-75 – 150
T52. Josh Neal, 74-77 – 151
Jonny Filler 77-76 – 153
Nick Holder 79-76 – 155
Corey Ryan 79-89 – 168
Zach Borntreger 83-89 – 172