Of the 156 golfers that will tee off in the opening round of the Indiana Open today at Otter Creek, six will have a distinct advantage.
The six Columbus natives will be playing on the course in which they grew up. Five of them still list Otter Creek as their home course.
“I know there’s a few of us out there from Columbus, so we definitely are going to have an advantage, knowing where to be and where not to be,” said Jake Coffey, a Columbus North graduate who will be a sophomore at Indiana Wesleyan.
Coffey and fellow amateurs Kenny Chavis, Coleman Glick, Ryan Myers and Michael VanDeventer are playing in this week’s tournament, along with professional Tyler Duncan. Duncan, who finished third last year, his first as a pro, is one of the favorites for this week’s 72-hole event.
“There’s a lot of good players in the field,” Duncan said. “I grew up playing the course, and I’ll go out and play the best I can. I know it pretty well. I definitely think that’s an advantage.”
Duncan is playing on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, which has spring and fall seasons in South and Central America. Two weeks ago, he qualified for his first Web.com Tour event, where he made the cut and finished 58th.
“That was a huge step in the right direction for me,” said Duncan, the 2007 high school state medalist from North. “It gave me a lot of confidence. I think my game is pretty much the best that it’s been.”
The same could be said of VanDeventer. He tied with teammate Christian Fairbanks for state medalist honors in June, leading North to the team title.
“I’ve been playing pretty much every day and practicing quite a bit, so hopefully my game will be in better shape than it was for state,” said VanDeventer, who is headed to Ball State. “Obviously, I’ll have to play very well, but I feel that I’m capable.”
Glick, a North graduate who will be senior at Division II Tusculum, hasn’t had a bad past couple months, either. He had two top-six finishes in college tournaments and tied for 11th in last month’s Indiana Amateur.
“I think I’m playing good, but there’s always room for some improvement,” Glick said. “In those good finishes, there’s always been one poor hole or poor shot. Those T-6s could have been seconds, and that 11th could have been a top-five.
“I’d like to say think my chances are high, but realistically looking at it, it’s a slim chance, especially with all of these professionals that are out there, including Tyler Duncan,” he said.
Coffey finished fifth in his conference tournament and 25th in the Indiana Amateur.
“My game is really coming together right now,” Coffey said. “This is a big tournament for me, so I’ve been trying to practice a little extra and get my game straight.”
Chavis is a 1990 Columbus East graduate. Myers played at East and University of Indianapolis and is now co-owner and general manager of Shadowood in Seymour.
The other local players say playing on their home course should be an advantage.
“I plan to use it as one,” Glick said. “Whether it pans out that way, we’ll see.”
“It should be an advantage for me and all the other local guys because we’ve grown up playing out there,” VanDeventer said. “We know what sides to miss on and all the other nuances of the course.”