INDIANAPOLIS – Even when you end up with the same score, it tends to make a golfer feel better to end on a high note than to start fast and fade.
Take Logan Ryan, who shot 7-over on the first day of the Indiana Amateur Championship at the Country Club of Indianapolis, cut his score to a 2-over 72 on Tuesday and then carded an even-par 70 in the final round Wednesday.
As a result of his improved play, Ryan moved up 14 places on the final day to finish tied for 27th, the best finish of any Fort Wayne-area player.
“I finally put together some golf shots and ended up not making as many bogeys as I did the first two days,” said Ryan, a Bishop Dwenger graduate and current Emory golfer. “I've always had a tendency to finish stronger than I started, so maybe getting more rounds in on the golf course, having a couple more rounds in of competition play, and I finally just cleaned things up.”
After two days of carrying his own clubs, Ryan's father, John, caddied for him Wednesday.
“There's a high price tag on fairways, so today my dad did a pretty good job of keeping my driver in the bag, and I hit a lot of 3-woods off the tee, and I was hitting the 3-wood well, so I think that's what led to a lower score today, was keeping the ball on the fairway,” Ryan said.
But Ryan did decide to give his driver one last try on the par-4 18th, which he birdied.
“Today felt like I was playing competitively again and starting to make strides to playing well in tournaments,” Ryan said. “My driver hadn't been good all day, and my dad kept it in the bag, and 18th was a drivable par 4. So I was like, 'Dad, I lied, you've got to let me hit it one more time. And I ended up putting it green side, and that was probably the best shot I hit.”
Noah Gillard, a Center Grover graduate who now plays for Illinois, shot a 66, the best round of the entire tournament, to slide into first place and win with a score of 9-under 201. Austin Vukovits, who led after each of the first two rounds, shot 72 and finished second overall at 206 (4 under).
Columbia City grad Spencer Klimek also put together his cleanest round of the week, a 71, to move up 15 places and tie for 34th place at 11 over.
“My short game really let me down the first two days, but today was much better,” said Klimek, who now plays for the University of Indianapolis. “My chipping was the main thing, and I was fortunate enough to make a couple putts.
“I've been off of tournament golf for a while with all the virus stuff going on. And I think the first couple rounds, even through I have been playing a lot it was a little rusty coming back the first few rounds. Today I got back to what I usually do best, and that's getting up and down when I miss greens. Today I took that just a little bit than I did the first two rounds.”
Bishop Dwenger graduate and Purdue Fort Wayne player Callaghan Elzey also finished 11 over, though he shot a 74 on the final day. Brad Hardin, the 1999 tournament champion, shot a 76 on the final day to join Elzey at 11 over.
No one ended the day hotter than Homestead graduate Garrett Willis, who recorded five birdies on the back nine Wednesday to card a 73 for the day and finish the tournament at 12 over.
“I would say the front and back nines were night and day today, going from 6 over without sniffing anything worth anything on the front nine to five birdies en route to 32 on the back side, it's a little bit of a difference,” Willis said. “It's a good ending to what looked like it would be a long day on the front side.”
Willis said his driving drastically improved in the second half of his round.
“I put it just off the fringe on 18 today, and basically went with a 'hold nothing back' mentality on the back nine, and it really worked out well,” Willis said.
Luke Miller carded a 77, his worst round of the tournament, to fall to 12 over and a tie for 38th. Josh Neal shot 74 to finish at 15 over and in a tie for 49th.
Country Club of Indianapolis
1. Noah Gillard 68-67-66 – 201
2. Austin Vukovits 67-67-72 –206
3. Ty Gingerich 68-69-71 – 208
T27. L. Ryan, 77-72-70 – 219 (+9)
T34. S. Klimek, 75-75-71 – 221 (+11)
T34. B. Hardin, 72-73-76 – 221 (+11)
T34. C. Elzey, 75-72-74 – 221 (+11)
T38. G. Willis, 74-75-73 – 222 (+12)
T38. L. Miller, 73-72-77 – 222 (+12)
T49. J. Neal, 74-77-74 – 225 (+15)