Overton Leads Heading Into Final Round at State Am
July 1, 2004
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Defending champion and Indiana All-American Jeff Overton of Evansville fired an even par 72 in Wednesday's third round of the 104th Indiana Amateur Championship at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, but his lead is now four shots with 18 holes to play.
Overton admittedly did not play his best golf on Wednesday. His driver continued to cause him problems and he missed a few short putts, which caused him to go immediately to the practice putting green after his round and hit 25 putts from about six feet.
He goes into the final round Thursday leading Chris Clemens of Beech Grove by four shots and Tim Sacheck of Zionsville and Stephen Ford of Indianapolis by five. Heath Peters of Auburn, a teammate of Overton's at Indiana, is in a tie for fifth place at 4-under-par 212 (71-67-74).
Overton got off to a good start in round three with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 second hole to get his lead to three shots. He entered the third round leading Brandon Knutson of South Bend by one. Knutson made bogey at the first hole on his way to a round of 80 to fall nine shots back and in a tie for ninth place.
After his birdie at two, Overton made back-to-back bogies at four and five and his lead was down to two over Knutson. He quickly made up for it with a birdie at the par-5 sixth to get his lead back to four.
He added a three-putt bogey at the ninth and his lead was three with nine holes to play. It was at this point that several other players entered the fray, mainly in the battle for second place.
As players began to battle for second position, Overton kept plugging along. He made part at the first two holes on the back and then made an easy birdie at the par-5 twelfth to get back to even on the day and 10-under for the tournament.
He added another birdie at 14, a short par-4 to get to minus-11 and he lead was four over Sacheck, who rolled in a long birdie putt at the par-3 thirteenth and made birdie at the par-5 fifteenth.
Sacheck would make bogey at two of his final three holes, opening the door for Clemens to move into second place. After a bogey at 14 dropped him to five-under, he came right back with a birdie at 15 to get within four.
Overton missed opportunities for birdie at 15 and 16 and then three-putted the last for a bogey. He had about 40 feet for birdie and left the difficult putt about four-feet short of the hole. He would then miss his par attempt, prompting the practice when he was done.
Ford did not get off to a great start and was minus-4 at the turn and six behind, but he made eight pars and a birdie on the back nine to shoot even par and get back into a tie for third with Sacheck.
If Overton holds on to win his second consecutive title, he will join a pretty good list of back-to-back winners of the State Amateur since the event switched to stroke play in 1973.
Jim Gallagher, Jr. of Marion won in 1982 and 1983, Dan Olsen, a former IU star, won in 1988 and 1989, in addition to his title in 1986 and Tom Inskeep of Fort Wayne won in 1977 and 1978.
Gallagher was a member of a United States Ryder Cup team and is a multiple winner on the PGA Tour. Olsen is a member of the PGA Tour in 2004 and Williamson, who currently plays on the Canadian PGA Tour, was an all-American at Purdue University.
"I grew up thinking about winning one of these, much less two," Overton said. "It would be great to win another one."
Overton's even par round on Wednesday did end his streak of consecutive under par rounds in the State Amateur. He had recorded six in a row, which broke the record of five straight by three-time champion Kent Frandsen of Lebanon in 1974 and 1975.
Conditions proved to be more difficult on Wednesday than the first two rounds. There were a total of 48 sub-par rounds over the first two days, shattering the previous record for an entire championship. On Wednesday, there were just seven sub-par rounds.
The final round will begin Thursday morning at 7:30 with players all starting on the first hole. The final grouping of Overton, Clemens and Sacheck will begin at 10:48.
(Indiana Golf Association contributed to this story)
HOOSIERS AT THE STATE AM
Check back soon