Over halfway through the third round of the 113th Indiana Amateur Championship it looked like awarding the championship trophy to Adam Schenk for the 113th Indiana Amateur Championship was a forgone conclusion.
While his nearest competitors were faltering, Schenk fired a solid 2-under par 34 on the front nine to take a 9 shot lead. Research was underway to locate the largest margins of victory in State Amateur history. Even after suffering a two shot penalty for playing a wrong ball on the 11th hole, Schenk still maintained a nine shot cushion.
How quickly things change. Following the double bogey on the 11th, Schenk went on to play the last 7 holes at 4-over-par in spite of making birdies on 15 and 18. His 4-over –par 75 total left him at 2-under-par for the tournament and clinging to a one shot lead.
"I never understood how someone could hit the wrong ball until today,” Schenk said. "Our marks were very similar and things happen I guess. It definitely threw me off a little bit and was a momentum shifter. I went on to make some bad swings towards the end of my round. But I love this course and if I can take advantage of the drivable holes I should be in good shape tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Valparaiso’s Bobby Jacobs made a major move on the leaderboard. The soon-to-be freshman at Bradely University fired a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine. After posting four straight pars on the inward nine he birdied the par 4, 14th and the par 3, 15th to go to even par for the Championship. After a par on the 216 yard par 3, 17th, he finished with another birdie, his 5th of the day to go along with one eagle, to post a 4-under-par 67.
"The last three days I’ve had 27 putts and my short game has really saved me,” Jacobs said. "I had two chip-ins today and definitely was scraping to make pars. My goal this year was to make the cut since I barely missed it last year, so I definitely didn’t expect to be this close to the lead. I’m playing really well though and I hope to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Joining Schenk and Jacobs in the final threesome of the day will be Fishers’ Johnny Watts who will be a senior at Hamilton Southeastern. Watts posted a 73 to go with matching 71’s over the first 36 holes.
After a total of 14 under par rounds being posted over the first 36 holes, only 2 competitors were able to better the par 71 layout of South Bend Country Club in round 3.
"The course certainly showed its ability to stand the test of time today,” said Indiana Golf Office Executive Director Mike David. "We moved some tees back and had some pretty difficult hole locations. People are often surprised as how well this course can hold up given its relatively short yardage.”
South Bend Country Club measures just under 6,500 yards but requires premium tee shots and well placed approach shots to its sloping greens.
Six players began the second round at even par or better. Now only Schenk and Jacobs remain, with Watts trailing closely behind.