Alec Dutkowski (Northern Am photo)
CHESTERTON, Ind. (July 27, 2018) – Sometimes it’s good to have a number in mind, and sometimes it’s better not to. Alec Dutkowski
can speak to both after a day in which he clawed into contention at the Northern Amateur, then outlasted two other players in a three-hole playoff.
Dutkowski, of Wakarusa, Ind., began the final round at Sand Creek Country Club two shots off the lead. He was tied for seventh and his goal for the final round was not to push. He guessed it would take 7 under to win the tournament, and he turned out to predict it on the number.
After the first nine, Dutkowski had gone the other way. Eight pars and one bogey left him five off the lead, though he didn’t know it then.
“I’ve had a lot of tournaments and experiences where I’ve learned how to control my emotions throughout the round and just take one shot at a time and see what happens,” Dutkowski said. “I used to press too much and I used to go the wrong way. I just went out and had fun today.”
Hard not to have fun when your back nine includes an albatross and four birdies. When Dutkowski made the turn, he did it in a big way. Once again he predicted a number – Dutkowski guessed it would take a back-nine 32 for him to have a chance – and he ended up beating it.
Dutkowski drove it just into the left rough on the 503-yard, par-5 10th and “read the lie perfectly.”
“It was a little jumper,” he explained. “I hit 8-iron from 200 yards. It bounced twice in the front of the green and rolled in the hole.”
When he and his caddie, a member at Sand Creek who is a friend of a friend, approached the green, they didn’t know Dutkowski had holed it.
Interestingly, it’s the first albatross Dutkowski has made on a par 5, but not his first ever. When he was 14, Dutkowski holed his drive on a 314-yard par 4.
“I just lined up the ball and it rolled down the hill and went in,” Dutkowski said, laughing.
At Sand Creek, Dutkowski’s back-nine 31 made him the first player to come in at 7 under. Kyle Flexsenhar of Bloomington, Ill., and Zinyo Daniel Garcia of Sunshine Bay joined him at that number, then all went back to Nos. 10, 11 and 12 for a three-hole aggregate playoff. Dutkowski hadn’t seen his opponents’ games, so he made no more guesses about what it would take to win.
“I just played more golf,” he said.
Dutkowski won it when he went birdie, birdie, bogey. Flexsenhar had par, par, bogey while Garcia went bogey, birdie, par.
Dutkowski is a senior at Taylor University, an Upland, Ind.-based school that competes at the NAIA level. The best thing he can compare the Northern Amateur to is the time two years ago that he won the NCAA Division I-dominant Earl Yestingsmeir Invitational, a Ball State-hosted event, as an individual.
Without his college experience at Taylor, Dutkowski knows he wouldn’t be here. He calls the golf team a brotherhood that rallies around all its members.
“It’s tight-knit,” he said. “If someone does well, we all hop on their board.”
After this victory, it’s time to rally around Dutkowski.
ABOUT THE Northern Amateur
Popular national amateur tournament played
1967-2001 (with a solid list of past
returned to the schedule in 2011. 54-hole
play championship with a field of 96 players.
Par-3 contest held after round 1.
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