ELKHART – During the third round of the 116th Indiana Amateur Championship, Elcona member, Matt Christensen came from behind to grab the lead at his home course. He posted a 54-hole total of 1-over-par, 216 and led by three shots heading into the final round of the state’s most prestigious event.
Today, Christensen got off to a bit of a shaky start, bogeying three of his opening five holes to fall to 4-over-par. But despite the way his day began, he never relinquished his lead.
The 38-year-old former professional golfer, posted a 72-hole total of 2-over-par, 290 to win the event by four shots.
“For me, this was fun,” Christensen said. “I tried not to take it too seriously. It was more about going out, staying focused and having fun. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself.”
Christensen played collegiate golf at Fresno State in California and moved to Elkhart three years ago. After college, he played professionally for two years (’99, ’00), including time spent on the Canadian Tour. In ’98, he regained amateur status and had a very successful year, winning several events including the Northern California Amateur.
Christensen and family relocated to Bristol three years ago due to a promotion at Keystone RV Company, where he is Product Manager. He has been in the RV business for fourteen years and joined Elcona upon his arrival to Indiana. He gained an exemption into the State Am by winning the Elcona Club Championship.
“Tom (Thome, Head Professional at Elcona CC) highly encouraged me to play in this event,” Christensen said. “He kept telling me not to embarrass him. After some continuous hazing, I agreed to play and I couldn’t be happier. It is so special to get a win for all of my fellow members.”
Christensen says he does not get the opportunity to play as much as he would like to due to his busy work schedule, but he is leaning towards making an appearance at next year’s Indiana Amateur Championship at The Hawthorns G&CC in Fishers.
“If Tom drives me, I might make it down to Fishers next year,” Christensen joked.
For the first time in 10 years, the winner of the State Am finished the event over par, proving the difficulty of Elcona. The slick greens, windy conditions and beautiful layout made for a tremendous event for all participants. Thank you to Tom Thome and his staff for hosting!
Keegan Bronnenberg, Muncie, and Ethan Shepherd, Greenwood, also had a great showing this week, finishing in a tie for second at 6-over-par, 294.
Locally, three players finished up the tournament. Austin Bender of Wakarusa and Tyler Ostrom of Warsaw both shot 78 in their final rounds, Bender finishing with a 309 tournament total to tie for 36th overall. Ostrom struggled in the middle rounds and landed 59th with his 321. Dan Hood of Goshen shot a 79 to end with a 315, tied for 53rd.