Overton Wins Second Straight State Am
July 2, 2004
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Indiana men's golfer Jeff Overton of Evansville captured the 104th Indiana Amateur Championship at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Thursday by four shots over Adam Darrow of Granger. Overton fired a 12-under-par 276 (68-66-72-70).
Overton's IU teammate, Heath Peters of Auburn, closed out the tournament in a tie for fourth place. Peters concluded the Championship with a 4-under-par 284 (71-67-74-72). His finish automatically qualified him for next year's Indiana Amateur.
Overton distanced himself from the field with four birdies over his final nine holes. After a front nine 38 dropped his lead to just two shots, he birdied four of the first six holes on the inward nine to win easily.
"This is great," he said. "As a little kid you think `Wow, the State Amateur, I'd like to play in that,' then you qualify and the next thing you know, you are here."
The victory is Overton's second straight State Amateur title, making him the fourth person to win back-to-back titles since the championship switched to stroke play in 1973.
Overton, who earned second team all-American honors this past college season at Indiana University after winning five events, entered the final round with a four-stroke lead.
After making par on the first five holes, his lead was still four, but he would make two straight bogies at six and seven. His lead was down to two over Tim Sacheck of Zionsville.
After walking off the seventh green, which he had just three-putted, he spent a moment to himself under a tree. While there, he found a penny on the ground. He picked up the penny, used it to mark his ball on the putting green the rest of the round. It proved to be what he needed to bring home the victory.
After pars on eight and nine, his lead was still two, but now over Darrow. He hit his tee shot on the short par-4 10th, just short of the green and chipped to inside of two-feet for an easy birdie to extend his lead to three.
As Overton was making par on 11, Darrow was on the par-5 12th hole and holed out his third shot from about 30 yards for an eagle, three, to get within one shot of the lead. It was the first time since early in round three that anyone was this close to the eventual champion.
Overton responded, however, by hitting his second shot on 12 to 15-feet and he easily two-putted for birdie. At almost the exact moment, Darrow was making bogey at the difficult par-3 13th. That increased Overton's lead back to three shots with five holes to play.
Once again, Overton took advantage of a short par-4, by driving the green at the 311-yard, par-4 14th. He had to chip from the green to get close to the back-left hole location, but he did so with outstanding touch, leaving himself a five-foot putt for birdie. He rolled that putt in to sustain his three-shot advantage after Darrow also made birdie at 14.
As Overton was waiting in the 15th fairway to attempt to reach the green in two, Darrow three putted from about 30-feet for a bogey, five, leaving Overton with a golden opportunity to extend his lead.
He would do just that. He left his second shot in the rough between the green and a bunker, but he again put his deft short game on display and chipped inside of three-feet for another birdie. It increased his lead to five and it would be his last birdie of the day, but he wouldn't need another.
Overton made par on the final three holes and Darrow would add another birdie at the eighteenth for the final four-shot margin.
The victory not only earned Overton a spot in Indiana golf history, but also some $700 in merchandise from the Brickyard, including two tickets to the Brickyard 400 Nascar race in August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Overton praised the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course and its condition. "These greens are so good," he said. "Inside of 15-feet, I knew exactly what the ball would do."
As for a three-peat at the State Amateur, which hasn't been done since Joe Campbell of Anderson from 1954 to 1956, Overton said it would depend on when he makes the decision to turn professional after his eligibility is completed at Indiana.
If I am still and amateur, I'll be here," he said. He said he does not think he will turn pro until the end of next summer because he hopes to play on the United States Walker Cup team.
Only four people have ever won the Indiana Amateur Championship three years in a row.<
Following his return from there, he will play in the Western Amateur, the Porter Cup in New York and attempt to qualify for the United States Amateur Championship in August.
Overton's final round of 2-under-par 70 was his seventh sub-par round at the State Amateur in the last two years. He has not had a round over par since the final round of the 2002 championship at Victoria National Golf Club in his hometown of Evansville.
The top-20 finishers this year earn an exemption into next year's championship which will be played next June at Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus. Overton is exempt for as long as he remains an amateur.
(Indiana Golf Association contributed to this story)
HOOSIERS AT THE STATE AM
Check back soon