It seems as if the rookies have taken over when it comes to winning the senior version of the Grant County Amateur golf tournament.
Granted, when it comes to playing the game, Doug Faust is definitely not a rookie. Faust is a grizzled veteran of the regular version of the County Am, with numerous top-10 finishes in the championship flight of the annual event through the past two-plus decades.
But after turning 50 in April, Faust made his debut in the Senior Am a winning one on Friday at Meshingomesia Country Club.
Faust made four birdies and added an eagle at the par-5 ninth en route to shooting an even-par 72 to claim his first-ever champions trophy in a Grant County Amateur tournament. Faust edged multiple-year senior champ, Pete DeLongchamp by a single shot for the title.
Defending champ, Tony Smith, was in contention most of the day, but a late bogey relegated him to a round of 74 and a third-place finish. Smith won his title last year just a couple months after his 50th birthday and in his first attempt as a senior.
“It’s awesome,” Faust said just a few moments after receiving the trophy from Meshingomesia club pro, Rob Riddle. “I never thought I’d be old enough to play in the senior Grant County Amateur championship. It’s fun. Great time, great course.”
Golfers battled through some brief periods of fairly heavy rain on their way through the 18-hole event, but to a man, all were pleased by the conditions of the golf course and the competition in the field.
“The golf course played really fun and it was in great shape,” DeLongchamp said. “It’s firmer than it used to play, the fairways, but I like it being firm.
“It played good,” he added. “We all threw some shots away but on this course you can do that pretty easy, knock it over a green.”
One of the fun things for all the players in the Senior Am is the familiarity between competitors. For many, it was a normal round among friends and some usual playing partners, though their tournament setting meant a little bit more was at stake.
For Faust, Friday’s round was his best ever at the venerable country club course and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Golf course is in great shape. Greens are fast. I’ve always loved playing this golf course,” Faust said. “I’ve never scored well here, but today I did.”
And he got to take the trophy and a few bragging rights home with him.
“I still play with those guys and they still really impress the heck out of me,” Faust said of the competition. “They all hit the ball very well. Just knowing I edged a couple of them out is a little feather in my cap and I can give them a hard time about it tomorrow.”
Many of the same golfers will take to the course on Saturday at the Elks in the opening round of the Hoosier Jiffy Print Grant County Amateur, though Faust wont be among them. He will be celebrating his son’s graduation from Lakeview Christian School as opposed to playing in the tourney.
Following is the full field scores for the Senior Amatuer: 1. Doug Faust 72, 2. Pete DeLongchamp 73, 3. Tony Smith 74, 4. Robert Etherton 75, 6. Doug Carey 76, T7. Tom Barnes, Steve Spoonhoward 77, T9. Kirk Barton, Kent Hayes 78, 11. Mike Hicks 79, 12. Anthony Combs 80, 13. John Chin 81, 14. Bob Smithson 82, T15. Bill Varner, Mike Huber, Scott Weaver, Mike Small 83, 19. Bob Leckron 87, 20. Jim Brunner 88, 21. Jeff Martin 90, T22. Bob Kowatch, Tim Purdom, Gary Henderson 91, 25. Bob Hastings 95, 26. Lee Sherrod 99, 27. Rhett Baker 131, 28. Bill Corey Jr. NC.