54-hole leader and 41-year-old Sean Rowen (IGA photo)
COLUMBUS, Ind. — If you look at the 54-hole totals for the 115th Indiana Amateur Championship you would think it was a pretty easy day for tournament leader Sean Rowen of Greenwood. He began the day with a three shot lead and ended the day with a five shot lead. Just a ho hum day it would appear.
Such was not the case for Rowen for much of his round on Wednesday at Otter Creek GC. He carded a bogey on the par-4, 2nd and a double bogey on the par-5, 5th and saw his lead shrink to as little as one shot. The outcome seemed very much in doubt until he went to the par-4, 12th. He then proceeded to go birdie, birdie, eagle and his slim margin ballooned to five before finally ending with a birdie on 18 and finishing at 8-under-par for the tournament heading into tomorrow’s final round.
“I knew somewhere in 72 holes it would be a grind,” said Rowen, the 2014 IGA John K. David Player of the Year. “My front nine was definitely a struggle, but I felt mentally prepared for it. You have your ebbs and flows in golf. And at that point nobody was pressing me too much so I remained calm.”
Rowen turned 41 this May and finds himself in a field composed of almost all college players. He played golf at the University of Iowa and this tournament has reminded him of his days of college competition. It has been nine years since a non-college player has won the State Am, which happened in 2006 when Jeff Smith of Indianapolis won at age 43.
“I feel like a grandpa, I have to admit,” Rowen said. “They’re worried about their swings and I’m worried about how much Aleve I’m going to have to take tonight. But it’s honestly so much fun playing with them. It reminds me of my college days about 20 years back and to be able to play a round with Andrew (Havill) and Rylan (Porter) I can tell they definitely have bright futures ahead.”
Rowen has been near the top of the leaderboard in several State Ams, with his highest finish coming at the 2013 Am held at South Bend CC where he finished third.
“It has always been a goal of mine to win the State Am. I can honestly say it would be one of the best moments of my golf career,” Rowen said. “I started playing on the Indiana Junior Tour when I was a kid and my dad is an Indiana Senior Amateur Champion, so for me this win would be really special.”
Visually, Rowen likes the way Otter Creek sets up and he is in an ideal position heading to tomorrow’s final round.
“Tomorrow I hope to stay in the moment,” Rowen said. “I will continue to pick aggressive but smart targets and trust my game plan. Hopefully it will all fall into place.”
Clark Till of Zionsville made moves today firing a 5-under-par, 67 and is currently second at 3-under-par, five shots behind Rowen. Till’s round consisted of seven birdies today coming on holes 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 17 and 18. He only carded two bogeys.
Zach Schroeder of Lebanon and Andrew Havill of Carmel are currently tied for third at 1-under-par. The lead group will consist of Rowen, Till and Schroeder. They will tee off at 11:00 a.m.
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