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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Marissa Singer, who plays for the University of Saint Francis, won the Women's City Tournament at Coyote Creek Golf Club in a year that saw the ascension of several area players of high school and college age. 

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Patrick Allgeier, who placed fourth at the Indiana Amateur Championship, is one of the young golfers from northeast Indiana to stand out this summer. 

Sunday, October 08, 2017 1:00 am

Young golfers find swings in 2017 season

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Marissa Singer needed a terrific save on the 18th hole. Nick Bienz was able to leisurely stroll down the final fairway. Both won City Tournaments in a 2017 summer of golf that will be remembered for the ascension of younger golfers.

“I'm not one to play it safe, so I definitely was eager to hit over the trees with that shot,” said Singer, a member of the Saint Francis team, who had toyed with out-of-bounds territory on her tee shot at Coyote Creek Golf Club on July 16.

She bogeyed the hole to finish the final round at 2-over 74, and the three-day tournament at even par, but it was enough to secure her first title, edging Bishop Dwenger senior Sarah Frazier by two strokes.

The influx of young players at the Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association event was apparent this year with eighth-grader Madison Dabagia finishing third at 7 over, IPFW's Madison Chesnutt coming in fourth at 10 over and Jaycee Bunner, a freshman at Armstrong State, placing fifth at 11 over.

“The fairways are pretty tight. I guess my driver was there because I was almost always in the fairway besides the last couple of holes and that gave me easier shots into the green,” said Singer, whose victory was redemptive after she finished 21st this year at the NAIA Championships despite coming into the final round tied for 10th.

That national championship was won by Indiana Tech senior Courtney Dye, the 2016 champion at the Women's City, who finished tied for sixth this year with Homestead's Morgan Dabagia at 12 over.

“(Frazier) did impress me and I like competition, so that was great,” Singer said of the University of Dayton recruit, whose tournament included a first-round 2-under 70 and spring-boarded Frazier into a high-school season that had impressive performances by area players.

Playing for Bishop Dwenger, Frazier was the best finisher from northeast Indiana at the IHSAA state finals, shooting a final-round 1-over 73 on Sept. 30 to finish the two-day tournament tied for 15th at Carmel's Prairie View Golf Club at 13 over. In the team competition, Homestead was fifth, Dwenger 13th and DeKalb 15th. Individually, Homestead's Makenna Hostetler tied for 20th at 16 over, Morgan Dabagia tied for 25th at 18 over and Emma Schroeder tied for 29th at 19 over.

In the boys' tournament there June 13-14, Dwenger was 10th, Homestead 11th and Carroll 15th, while the top area individuals were Dwenger's Luke Miller, Homestead's Austin Render and Canterbury's Michael Brothers, all at 8 over.

Not only did the Homestead girls and Dwenger boys earn area bragging rights, they made themselves the teams to watch next year. The Homestead girls will return Morgan Dabagia, Sydney Rybolt and Rylie Parker and the Dwenger boys will return Miller, Jonathan Filler, Logan Ryan and Ariel DeLuna.

Many of the high school players fared well at the Fort Wayne Golf Association's City Tournament at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, which concluded Aug. 7 with Bienz, who plays for IUPUI, finishing the three-day tournament at 5 over. After placing second in 2016, he finished three strokes up this year on Miller, Daniel Wert, who had just completed his college career at IPFW, and Matt Zedrick, the women's coach at IPFW.

Fort Wayne-native Patrick Allgeier, who plays for Butler, placed fourth at the Indiana Amateur Championship, going 7 over through four days to finish 12 strokes off the lead at the Hawthorns Golf and Country Club in Fishers on June 19-22.

And northeast Indiana impacted the professional golf ranks. Justin Hueber, who went to Leo, played in 18 events on the Web.com Tour, had eight top-25 finishes and tied for fourth at the Air Capital Classic Supporting Wichita's Youth, pocketing $25,833. The winner of PGA Tour's FedEx Cup, Justin Thomas, might be remembered for shooting a course-record 7-under 65 at Sycamore Hills at the Junior PGA Championship in 2014.

About the only thing that could have been predicted this year was Sam Till Jr's sixth victory at the Senior City Championship, though he needed to rally from four strokes down at Orchard Ridge Country Club on Sept. 19.

jcohn@jg.net