Sinking a 20-foot putt on the 18th green of the
final round of the Indiana Open allowed Indiana University junior Chase Wright to
defeat his assistant coach Jamie Broce for his first Open victory. “He was by
far the best player out there today,” said Broce. “I am so proud of him.” Wright’s
putting helped him card birdies all day leading up to the final hole. “I putted
so solid all day,” he said. “I hit it close and made a lot of short putts, but
that putt on 18 was pretty sweet.” Wright carded rounds of 71-68-67-67 for a 15-under, 273 total.
Wright left himself a lot of putts within eight feet at The Legends of Indiana due to his approach irons being spot on. His consistency off the tee and from the fairway allowed him many opportunities to go another shot up over his fellow competitors. “My misses were so good all day. Instead of five feet, I was still only 15 feet away,” he said. His first birdie came on the opening hole when he stuck his approach to four feet. He followed that up with another birdie at the par-5, second hole and added one more at the 5th before turning at 33 and 13-under-par overall. Back-to-back birdies came at the 11th and 12th, once again accredited to his iron accuracy and putting consistency.
After the 16th green, when he barely missed a 40-footer for birdie, he held a two shot lead and victory looked promising. His drive at the 17th went to the middle of the fairway, but a hooked 6-iron landed him in the left greenside bunker with a fried-egg lie. “That was the only shot I really missed all day,” said Wright. It took him two attempts to get out of the bunker and was unable to make the 7-foot putt he left himself for bogey.
Going to the 18th tee he thought, “I knew I had to just put it in the fairway. I was still tied for the lead, I hadn’t given it up. I knew if I did something good, it would put it on [Jamie] to do something good.” And he executed. Broce’s drive was also in the fairway, but he attempted to stick it close to the right-side pin close to the water hazard. Broce’s approach flew right down a slight hill but remained out of the water. His chip left him a 6-foot putt, but before he could try to make it Wright ended the tournament with his 20-footer.
The two competitors were also paired together at the US Open Sectional Qualifier last month and have played many rounds in Bloomington together, but today provided a unique opportunity for player and coach. “I have been teaching him for a few years now, and he has really developed and matured mentally since freshman year,” explained Broce. He added, “he has made great strides. Today was a lot of fun.”
Along with impressing his coach, Wright also had something to prove at The Legends. In 2006 and 2008 he finished runner-up at the IHSAA Boy’s State High School Championships on the exact same course. “Finally,” said a relieved Wright.
Broce finished first in the professional division with 69-66-70-70=275 and took home a $6,000 check. Chris Seibel, C.D. Hockersmith, Eric Steger (a), Brooks Snyder (a), and Andy Winings all finished tied in third at 276.