COLUMBUS – After back-to-back Indiana Open wins in 1994 and 1995, Bloomington’s Craig Bowden decided to give it another shot 19 years later, and he made the right decision. With a four day total of 18-under-par, 270 at Otter Creek Golf Club, Bowden becomes the 99th Indiana Open Champion.
“I wanted to play this week just to see if I still had it in me,” said Bowden, past PGA Tour player. “I played in four events last year on the Web.com Tour, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I had two little kids at home and was recently remarried and just in a different life place than I had been in the past. This is the first time I decided to play competitively this year and I am definitely glad I made that decision.”
Bowden headed to the final day of the four day event one shot behind Andy Winings of Fishers. Heading to the 10th tee, Bowden was 3-under-par for the day and for the first time this week had the lead to himself.
Bowden continued to play steady on the back nine and made his fourth birdie of the day on the par-4, 11th hole. He held onto this two shot heading to the par-4, 16th hole where he knocked it in from 160 yards for eagle and victory became almost a guarantee.
“Andy felt like he had an opportunity up until that point because he had a reachable par-5 coming up,” Bowden said. “I was 160 yards and I smoked an 8-iron. The flag happened to get in the way and it went in. At that point I knew I had won the event.”
With this victory, Bowden becomes the ninth player to ever win the Indiana Open Championship three times. He plans to return next year to defend and says his goal is to win five.
“This win really means a lot to me,” Bowden said. “Hats off to Andy and Tyler (Duncan). They played great golf this week. I have always thought I was one of the best players in the state and to come out and shoot 18-under-par at Otter Creek, which I consider to be a difficult course, just feels great. I am elated. I think I still have a few Opens left in me. Let’s see if we can get to five.”
Winings finished the event with a four day total of 15-under-par, 273. Bluffton’s McCormick Clouser finished third this week and claimed low-amateur honors with an 11-under-par finish.
Warsaw’s Tyler Ostrom had the highest local finish of the tournament, taking 28th place with an even round of 72, finishing four-over for the week. Ostrom had two birdies and two bogeys on the day, otherwise parring everything else.
Syracuse native Stephen Conrad was two-under for the day, birdieing five holes but still taking three bogeys in what was an up-and-down tournament for the Wawasee graduate. Conrad finished tied for 33rd overall.
NorthWood graduate Brady Klotz landed in a tie for 45th place after a plus-two for the day. Klotz had four birdies, two on each side, but matched them with three bogeys apiece on both the front and back nine.
Grace College’s Jon Schram slipped to tie for 62nd place after hovering in the top half of the field for the first two days. Schram struggled to a five-over for the afternoon and a plus-13 for the tournament, marred by five bogeys and no birdies in his final round.
Final results for the Indiana State Open can be found here.