Back in 2011, a Columbus North High School student only a month removed from his freshman year struggled through the first round of the Indiana Amateur Golf Championship.
That was Christian Fairbanks, who was cut from the field after two rounds.
Fairbanks didn’t waste that opportunity, though, taking some advice from one of his playing partners to heart. It came from Corey Ziedonis, then an Indiana University golfer who now is a graduate assistant coach at Ball State.
“I remember back then, (Ziedonis) told me that I should stay more level on my putts and not think about them too much,” Fairbanks said. “Just to relax over them and not let them make me angry. I have used that ever since.”
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Fairbanks, now an Indiana University golfer himself, thought back to that advice Monday at Otter Creek as he shot a 3-under par 69 that left him in second place after the opening round of the 2015 Indiana Amateur Championship.
“I felt like I kept a good head on my shoulders today,” Fairbanks said. “When the winds picked up, I was just taking things one shot at a time and staying calm. I was not getting too stressed out.”
Fairbanks trails only Greenwood’s Sean Rowen, who finished with a 4-under par 68.
Fairbanks’ former North teammates, Michael VanDeventer and Ian Smith, were both tied for 13th after shooting 73s.
Another North graduate, Jake Coffey, finished in a tie for 40th with a 75. Coffey was in some trouble early on with four bogeys on the front nine.
“I played well enough that I could have shot under par,” Coffey said. “I left a handful of shots out there today. I actually played much better on the back nine despite the winds picking up. I hope to come back much stronger (today).”
Ryan Myers, Coleman Glick and Ian Coffey are tied for 62nd with rounds of 77.
Glick, who started on hole No. 10, was at 1-over with three holes to play but finished out with a couple of bogeys and a double bogey on his final hole.
“I did a lot of good things out there today,” Glick said. “You just can’t close your final three holes at four over par.”
Glick hopes to turn things around.
“I’ve got to put it behind me and get a good night’s sleep,” Glick said. “My game is there; it is just a matter of putting it into form.”
Other local golfers included Rafael Cordaro, who shot an 81; and Spencer Fairbanks, who finished with an 82.
Christian Fairbanks, who was in the final tee time group Monday, has a quick turnaround today as he has a tee time at 8 a.m. The tournament field is cut after today’s round and then is completed with rounds Wednesday and Thursday.
The quick turnover doesn’t seem to bother Christian Fairbanks.
“I like that I will be going first because I don’t like to think about things too much if I played later in the day,” Christian Fairbanks said. “It’s different because there will not be as much wind, so I will have change it up a little bit and keeping trusting my short game.”
Local tee times for today’s play in the 2015 Indiana Amateur Championship at Otter Creek:
8 a.m. — Christian Fairbanks (No.10)
8:09 a.m. — Jake Coffey (No. 10), Coleman Glick (No.1)
8:36 a.m. — Rafael Cordaro (No.1)
8:54 a.m. — Spencer Fairbanks (No.1)
9:39 a.m. — Ryan Myers (No.10)
1:06 p.m. — Ian Coffey (No 10)
2 p.m. — Ian Smith (No. 1)
2:09 p.m. — Michael VanDeventer (No.1)
1. Sean Rowan, Greenwood, 68
2. Christian Fairbanks, Columbus, 69
3t. Brayden Glaser, Nappanee, 70
3t. Zach Schroeder, Lebanon, 70