Erich Johnston (a) of Fort Wayne and Chris Baker of Brownstown pulled away from the field during the third round July 9 in the PGA Indiana Open at Brickyard Crossing. Johnston’s 67 placed him in the lead position at 203 heading into the final round. Baker’s 69 put him one shot back in second and five shots ahead of the next contender, Andy Winings of Brownsburg who carded a third round 74. But both leaders choose to disregard the fact that they created a significant separation from the rest of the field. “I have to think of it as just another round and stay aggressive,” said Johnston. Baker said, “It doesn’t change a thing. I’m going to go out and make as many birdies as I can.”
A win for Baker would put him in the elite group of Indiana players to win both the State Amateur and the State Open. He took the Am in 2008 at Wolf Run GC as the only player under par after four days, but finished third at the Open despite a final round comeback and tournament-low 64 at Prairie View GC.
A win for Johnston, a 20-year-old Purdue student, would be
his first major title. Perhaps the youngest player to ever compete in the
Indiana Open at age 13, he now sits atop a leaderboard of exceptional players
with a chance at victory. “I am learning to trust myself, and it’s all starting
to come together,” he said.