(Photo courtesy of Otter Creek GC)
COLUMBUS, Ind. — Six hours yet only one shot separates the leaders at the 115th Indiana Amateur Championship. Playing in the first group of the day at Otter Creek GC, Greenwood’s Sean Rowen posted an opening round of 4-under-par, 68 to look for his first State Am title. Finishing towards the top of the leaderboard several times at the State Am, with a career best third at South Bend CC, Rowen hopes to be in contention come Thursday afternoon.
“Getting off to a good start is important, but there is still a ton of golf left to play,” Rowen said. “I am focusing on playing each hole well and my goal is to be in the mix on Thursday.”
Rowen was the 2014 IGA John K. David Player of the Year, so being in contention is something he is used to. With seven top-ten finishes during the 2014 tournament season, including a win at the IGA Tournament of Champions, Rowen looks to add a victory here at Otter Creek to his list of accomplishments.
Playing just under 7100 yards today, windy and wet conditions made Otter Creek especially difficult, but Rowen managed to hit all but one green in regulation.
“I gave myself a ton of chances today and was able to convert a few,” Rowen said. “Like every year at the Am there are a ton of great players, so I just hope to continue to give myself chances as the week progresses.”
It was not until the last group of the day that Rowen was challenged by hometown favorite Christian Fairbanks who posted a 3-under-par, 69 and is currently second.
“I definitely think there is an advantage playing in an event like this on your home course,” said Fairbanks, a rising sophomore at Indiana University. “I’ve played Otter Creek on windy days with wet conditions, so I felt prepared for the way the course set up today.”
Fairbanks co-medaled with teammate and fellow Columbus resident Michael VanDeventer at last year’s IHSAA State Championship and is excited to be in this position as just a sophomore in college.
“When I came into this event my goal was to make the cut,” Fairbanks said. “At times I find myself looking ahead a little bit because I do know the holes so well, so mentally for me it is important to stay in the moment. If I was able to win at my home course it would be a huge confidence boost for me.”
Brayden Glaser of Nappanee fired a 2-under-par, 70 today and finds himself currently tied for third with Zach Schroeder of Lebanon.
“I went into the course blind not having ever seen it,” said Glaser, a rising sophomore at Indiana University - South Bend. “With that being said, I’m really happy with how I played today and I feel good about the position I am in.”
Dave Watterson, Jr. of Logansport, Jeffrey Mayer of Garret and Joe Gasser of Muncie share fifth at 1-under-par.
After tomorrow’s round, the field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties. Tee times will begin at 8:00 a.m.
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