Michael VanDeventer might have gotten a good look into the future on Wednesday at Otter Creek Golf Course.
Playing in the third round of the Indiana Open, VanDeventer played in the same group as fellow Columbus North graduate Tyler Duncan.
Like Duncan, who won a state individual championship for the Bull Dogs in 2007, VanDeventer won the title this year, sharing it with teammate Christian Fairbanks.
Now 25, Duncan followed his high school career by playing golf at Purdue and then embarking on the struggle of working his way through the world of professional golf.
He currently is 26th on the money list on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and needs to finish in the top 10 to get a spot on the Web.com Tour. He has nine more events to move up the money list.
Duncan’s talent is apparent, but the talent pool is deep.
“It’s a tough road,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about golf.”
VanDeventer, who had never played a competitive round with Duncan, could see that he has a lot to learn. Duncan shot 67 on Wednesday to pull within two shots of leader Andy Winings, who stands at 201 after three rounds. The final round is today at Otter Creek.
VanDeventer struggled on the front and then rallied to save a round of 73 that places him tied for sixth at 210. In the battle for low amateur, VanDeventer is two shots behind his future Ball State teammate McCormick Clouser (208) and one behind Pendleton’s Jake Groninger (209).
“It was a good learning experience for me,” VanDeventer said of being paired with Duncan. “Just seeing how he goes about playing the game.”
The pros are shooting for a first-place prize of $5,000 in the 99th Indiana Open while second place pays $3,000 and third place $2,500. The top amateur receives $700 in gift certificates to the Otter Creek pro shop.
VanDeventer said pros such as Winings, former PGA Tour pro Craig Bowden (second at 202) and Duncan show their talent around the greens.
“They just don’t make mistakes,” VanDeventer said. “And when they miss a green, they get up and down nine times out of 10. I only got up and down once or twice today.”
VanDeventer said he chose to play in the Indiana Open since it was conducted in his hometown and because he knew the field would be stocked with good players.
After playing the round, Duncan said VanDeventer has a bright future.
“He’s going to Ball State, and he is going to learn a lot about the game and how to manage it,” Duncan said. “I know my game has gotten better all around because you learn how to control yourself better.
“And I might hit it a little farther.
“But Michael has a good game. He hits it straight and putts well. He is a great player.”
With a five-stroke gap between third and fourth place, it appears the winner will come out of today’s final group of Winings, Bowden and Duncan. Although he is two shots back, Duncan is confident.
“One or two shots is nothing over 18 holes of golf,” he said. “I played pretty solid (Wednesday), and I birdied all the par 3 holes.”
The final group tees off at 11:36 a.m.