Daniel Wetterich (Ohio State Athletics)
Some of the (more aggressive) lines around Druid Hills Golf Club weren’t immediately obvious to Daniel Wetterich on Wednesday. He was taking the fairways-and-greens approach, and it was effective. Wetterich’s bogey-free, 8-under 64 left him with the first-round lead at the Dogwood Invitational.
A few times on Wednesday, a bit of the local strategy employed by Harry White, the Druid Hills local Wetterich was paired with, caught his eye. He watched, but he did not implement – at least not yet.
“He plays this course so much that he has plays that nobody else would really think of,” he said of White. “That really opened my mind with what he’s doing and maybe I’ll apply it this week.”
Wetterich let nothing tempt him at Druid Hills – not a change of gameplan, not tucked pins or risk-reward par 4s. When White, who opened with 9-over 81, took the line over the trees at the par-4 16th, Wetterich resisted. It has turned out badly for him before.
A handful of pins were no more than three paces from the side of greens in the first round. Sometimes, Wetterich said, he wasn’t even looking at the flag on his approach.
“If I ever got in trouble or missed a fairway, I played to the middle of green,” Wetterich said. “I trusted that my putting would save me and it worked today.”
In the grand scheme of Wetterich’s golf game, Wednesday’s round of 64 was “the simplest” low round he’s probably ever played. It was enjoyable, it was stress free and the good golf was flowing.
Rather than take a caddie, Wetterich had his mom Sherrie on his push cart. It was more about moral support than getting numbers. “Don’t worry about it,” the other caddies in the group told her when it came to moving around the greens and plucking the pin.
“She just stays out of the way,” Wetterich said. “It’s just good company.”
This will be Wetterich’s final summer as an amateur. He’s trying to improve his world ranking as much as possible before turning professional in the fall. He’s not exactly sure when he’ll do that, especially as it relates to any qualifying school he might enter.
In his last start with Ohio State last month, Wetterich learned an important lesson that will serve him well at the next level. Wetterich, with rounds of 71-74-74-74, finished inside the top 20 at an exceptionally hard venue – hard Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark. Wetterich’s scoring there cannot be understated.
“I fought hard for the three 74s and I felt like that just showed me that I had grit throughout those (rounds) – not even hitting the ball well, I could still manage my way around,” he said.
Ohio State gave a remarkable national-championship performance, especially considering it had the next-to-lowest national ranking (No. 43 in the Golfweek
/Sagarins) in the field. The Buckeyes began stroke play in seventh, but slipped to 13th by the end of 72 holes. They missed the match-play bracket by just five shots.
Wetterich was Ohio State’s leading man. He successfully transitioned to the Dogwood’s leading man on Wednesday. Thinking his way around a course is his strength, and he has leveraged that these past two weeks.
Behind Wetterich, Michael Sanders, a rising sophomore at LSU, made five consecutive birdies from Nos. 14-18 to reach 65. He is solo second, two shots ahead of a five-man group at 5 under that includes five-time Dogwood participant Luke Schniederjans, a rising senior at Georgia Tech.
The next test will be one of endurance. With severe weather approaching the Atlanta area on Friday and Saturday, Dogwood officials have scheduled a 36-hole day on Thursday. Play will start on both tees and in foursomes in an effort to reach a point where the 54-hole cut can be made Thursday evening.
Wetterich applauds anything that can be done to get the entire tournament played. It’s another opportunity to adapt.
ABOUT THE Dogwood Invitational
Tournament week is June 7-12 at Druid Hills Golf
Atlanta, Georgia. The entry fee includes breakfast
tournament days as
as special events.
The history of this prestigious event extends back to
1941, when legendary amateur Tommy Barnes
captured his first of five Dogwood titles. Evolving
the times, the modern Dogwood has produced fine
champions like Webb Simpson (’07), Brian Harman
(’09), Dawson Armstrong (’15), and in 2019 Brandon
seen also in our course renovations and set-up, our
relaxed tournament atmosphere, and our spirit of
Players are required to walk during tournament play
and may carry their golf bag themselves (push
allowed) or take a caddie. Caddies may be requested
in advance during registration, or players may
one on their own.
Player housing is provided on an as available basis to
, caddies and traveling
companions are not
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