It was a week that seemed like it couldn’t really get started and then at times like it would never end. The 102nd
Indiana Open Championship made headlines locally and on national social media sites, but that was for the severe weather that plagued the championship. After it was all said and done, the event had been extended a day and reduced by 18 holes before Brian Maurer captured a one-shot victory and his second career Indiana Open title.
Maurer, a Richmond native who has played professionally on a variety of tours, came to the Birck Boilermaker G.C. on the campus of Purdue University having lost in a Monday Qualifier playoff for a spot in the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic the week prior. Maurer fired an opening round 4-under-par on the par-71 Ackerman-Allen Course, which included an hour and a half weather delay. The next day, on the Kampen Course, Maurer and the rest of the morning tee times were on course when the weather completely took over. The Tuesday morning storms eventually rendered the golf course unplayable for the remainder of the day and play was postponed until Wednesday morning. Maurer finally finished up his second round and posted another 4-under-par on the par-72 Kampen layout. Also in that wave of tee times was professional Michael Davan who posted the low round of the tournament with a 6-under 66 to get within four shots of the lead.
Both Maurer and Davan would have to wait until the afternoon groups finished up, but that wait was much longer than expected as Wednesday’s rounds were eventually rained out pushing them into Thursday. Eventually, play resumed and the Second Round was completed early Thursday evening, when the final round of the 72-hole championship was scheduled to be finished. With the new schedule, the event had been reduced to 54 holes and a Friday finish, which would take place back on Ackeman-Allen due to playability.
In total, Maurer sat on the lead without playing for nearly two full days. “Sitting with the lead for 48 hours is not easy,” said Maurer. “With the weather, you’re sitting in the hotel and all you can do is think about it.” Once the wait was over and the field cut, Maurer still led by four over Davan with PGA Professional Craig Bowden and amateur Michael VanDeventer five back.
As the final round started, Maurer looked a little uncomfortable as he missed half of his first six greens in regulation. On the other hand, Davan was making a move and after playing his first eight holes in 4-under, had tied Maurer for the lead. “Oddly enough, the most comfortable I felt was when Michael tied me,” said Maurer about losing his lead. “Having the lead, I saw my name on top of the board all week, when he finally tied me on 8 green, I kind of buckled down and said OK let’s play some golf.”
Both Maurer and Davan made bogey on the par-4 11th
and were tied at 7-under, when three groups ahead of them, reigning Indiana Amateur Champion Michael Makris was making birdie on the long par-4 14th
to get to 4-under for the day and just two shots back. Maurer responded with birdies on holes 12 and 13, while a Davan bogey pushed Maurer’s lead back to three. A bogey on 15 by Makris ended his bid to track down the leader, but Davan wasn’t finished yet as he made back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to pull back within one. After both made bogeys on the par-3 17th
, Maurer took his one-shot lead to the 18th
“I thought I lost the tournament,” said Maurer pausing. “I thought that swing cost me the golf tournament.” Maurer’s one-handed finish saw his ball hooking towards the out of bounds stakes on the left side of the dogleg right hole. With a blind landing area, Maurer headed to his bag to grab a provisional ball when the spotter’s call came through that the ball was safe. “It was a sigh of relief,” said Maurer of that news, “but I also knew that down there in the rough was no cupcake.”
Davan had driven the ball perfectly into the middle of the fairway with Maurer to play first. Maurer’s shot from rough landed in the middle of the green and rolled past the hole about 15 feet away. “Fortunately, I read the lie just perfectly and played a shot just like I drew up in my head,” said Maurer. With the pressure on Davan, his aggressive bid to knock it close ended up long of the green. Still with a shot though, Davan’s pitch skirted the edge of the hole, but wouldn’t drop, leaving Maurer two-putts to win the title.
“My game all week was good,” said the newly crowned champion. “Today, I think I let the nerves get a little bit of me, but that’s golf. You’ve got to learn to play when you’re nervous, that’s the sign of good players, and fortunately I was able to fight through just enough.”
The win made Maurer the 22nd
man to win multiple Indiana Open Championships, his first coming in 2010. “It’s really special,” said Maurer. “Our state has so many quality players, both professional and amateur, so to get one of them is special, two of them is almost mind boggling. It’s really cool.”
Davan finished as runner-up, one shot back, while Makris was the low-Amateur, tied for 3rd
with Andy Winings three behind the winner. Bowden finished tied for 10th
and was the low Indiana PGA Professional.