Nicholas Grubnich of Crown Point, Ind. began the third round of the 114th Indiana Amateur Championship at Purgatory GC with a three shot lead over teammate David Mills of Evansville, Ind. and after 18 holes the gap remained the same. Grubnich, a rising senior at Indiana University posted a 2-under-par 70 today, and heads to the final round of Indiana’s most prestigious amateur event at a comfortable 8-under-par.
"Today was the tale of two nines,” Grubnich said. "I played lights out on the front nine and turned at 4-under-par for the day. On the back nine, things didn’t come easily for me. I hit a few bad shots and had a few tough breaks, but I reminded myself that good pars go a long way on the more difficult holes out here.”
Grubnich made the turn with an eagle 3 on the par-5, 9th and at that time had a seven shot lead over Mills.
"David definitely hits it further than I do,” Grubnich said. "It is a lot of fun playing with him and it almost makes things more comfortable having a teammate in my group. At IU, we do everything together both on and off the golf course and we are excited to have the chance to compete against each other in such a prestigious event.”
Although Mills also posted a 2-under-par 70 today, he played a very different round. He got off to a rather slow start, giving himself birdie chances but not converting any putts. Towards the end of his round, putts began to drop, and he birdied both par-5s on the back nine to keep himself in contention.
"I didn’t putt very well on the front nine,” said Mills, a recent graduate of Indiana University. "Grubnich has been putting well all week and that is definitely a strength of his. I expect him to do the same tomorrow. It is always a lot fun to play together and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Mills’ best finish in the State Am came in ’12 at Prairie View GC, where he finished fifth.
"It has always been a goal of mine to win the State Am and I like where I stand,” Mills said. "Three shots is definitely manageable and I really like this golf course and the way it sets up for my game. This is a great event and it would mean a lot to me to win.”
Grubnich’s best finish in the Am was last year at South Bend CC where he finished 25th.
"This would be a great event to win,” Grubnich said. "It is one that all of the top amateurs from around the state always mark on their calendar each year. If I am leading by three shots at the end of the day tomorrow, then I will be really happy.”
Greenwood’s Sean Rowen is also still in the hunt at 1-under-par and alone in third. Rowen finished in a tie for third in last year’s State Am and is a player that can never be counted out.