From the time he teed off in the first group of the first round, Michael Makris, South Bend, never trailed in the 117th
edition of the Indiana Amateur Championship hosted by The Hawthorns G&CC. Makris posted an opening round of 3-under-par 69 and followed that with back-to-back rounds of 70 to start the final round with a four-shot lead. In the end, it was more than enough cushion for the 21-year-old to capture his first State Amateur title.
“I almost don’t believe I won, because I haven’t won anything in so long,” said Makris, a rising Senior at Ball State. “It really feels awesome.” Despite the four-shot lead to begin the round, the win was anything but easy for Makris, as Brett Widner, Avon applied early pressure with birdies on the first two holes. After Makris made back-to-back bogeys on two and three, the pair were tied for the lead. “The first couple holes I didn’t feel too great,” said Makris of the slow start. “Brett dropped a couple of putts on me to start the round and it was just kind of a slap in the face for me to start making some birdies.”
Makris responded with birdies on number four and five to regain the lead and then added another on eight for a three-shot lead at the turn. On the 12th
hole, Makris’ Ball State teammate Johnny Watts joined him to caddie, but Makris immediately hit his tee shot OB leading to a double bogey and then followed that with a bogey on 13 to reduce his lead to one. “It definitely wasn’t his fault,” said Makris with a laugh when asked if he thought of kicking Watts off the bag. “He wasn’t making those swings,” Makris continued, “I think I just got a little excited.”
With a one-shot lead, Makris hit his approach shot on 14 just over the green, but chipped it close for an easy par. Widner, who had his approach about 20 feet from the hole three-putted and was never able to challenge again. “That was a pretty big change in momentum for me, and I’m sure he felt it too” said Makris of the exchange on 14. “I did not expect him to three-putt that, if anything (I thought he would) maybe run it in (for birdie).”
Makris was able to push his lead back to three standing on the 18th
tee, which ended up the final margin, following a final round 74. “It’s pretty cool, a bunch of my family and a couple friends came out to watch me on this back nine today. It was cool getting some support a few hours from home.”
Makris finished 5-under-par for the Championship, followed by the 34-year-old Widner at 2-under while University of Indianapolis rising Senior Graham McAree was third at 1-over-par.