Crooked Stick Golf Club tests world’s top amateur players
By MATT HARNESS
CARMEL, Ind. (July 28, 2020) – Turk Pettit, of Sugar Grove, North Carolina, holed a 15-foot putt for par on No. 18 to shoot 4-under 68 and finish Tuesday’s first round at the 118th Western Amateur in a five-way tie for the lead at Crooked Stick Golf Club.
A senior at Clemson, Pettit was alone in first at 5 under after an eagle at the 11th and birdie at the 15th, but he bogeyed No. 17 to fall back to the pack. It was the highest opening-round score since 67 led in 2015 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
“You never want to bogey the last two,” he said. “There are some tough holes, especially down the stretch. I didn’t hit bad shots, but you have to hit good shots out here. It’s a tough track.
“I think the lowest round all week will be about 5 under, maybe 6.”
Joining Pettit atop the leaderboard are Connor Creasy, of Abingdon, Virginia; Maxwell Moldovan, of Uniontown, Ohio; Joseph Pagdin, of Sheffield, England; and Matthias Schmid, of Moxhuette, Germany.
After making bogey on his first hole — he started on No. 10 — Creasy bounced back with a birdie at the next. He closed the first nine with a birdie and carded three more on the second nine.
“You’re definitely going to make a couple of bogeys out here, and I happened to get mine out of the way early,” said Creasy, a sophomore at Georgia. “After that, it was smooth sailing. I didn’t drive it in the fairway that much, but I never got in much trouble. I hit a lot of wedges close and made my short putts.”
A freshman at Ohio State, Moldovan is the only one of the leaders who didn’t make worse than par. He carded all four of his birdies on his final eight holes. Schmid, a senior at Louisville, made four birdies and one eagle, while Pagdin, a freshman at Florida, had six birdies.
Two of the 10 players tied for sixth at 3 under are last year’s medalist Davis Thompson, of Saint Simons Island, Georgia, and 2017 Western Junior champion William Mouw, of Chino, California.
“I liked how I played, liked the result,” Mouw said. “I stayed patient and had fun. It’s such a long tournament that you have to pace yourself the best you can.”
Another one at 3 under is Angus Flanagan, of Woking, England, who played at the PGA TOUR’s 3M Championship last week. His six birdies were offset by a double bogey and bogey.
“I would have taken a 69 at the start of the day, especially the way I was hitting it during the practice round,” he said. “It’s nice I can turn it on whenever. It was a tough finish, I played solid.”
Defending champion Garrett Rank, of Ontario, Canada, posted 2-over 74. Cole Hammer, of Houston, Texas, opened with 71. He won the tournament in 2018.
David Ford, of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, aced the 201-yard, par-3 sixth hole on his way to 75.
This is the first time since 1951 that one of the world’s oldest and most storied amateur golf championships is being played in the state of Indiana. South Bend Country Club hosted that year’s Western Amateur, which was won by famed golfer Frank Stranahan. The Western Amateur has never been played in the Indianapolis area.
Crooked Stick has hosted several elite golf championships, including the 2012 BMW Championship won by Rory McIlroy and the 2016 BMW Championship won by Dustin Johnson.
Crooked Stick also has been a supporter of the Evans Scholars Foundation, a nonprofit established by the Western Golf Association that has awarded full tuition and housing college scholarships to more than 11,000 caddies since 1930.
Twenty-four of those caddies were from Crooked Stick, including Joe Conway, who is currently enrolled at Purdue University.