Start me up: Crown Point’s Yianni Kostouros one shot off lead after first round of Northern Amateur

Yianni Kostouros is feeling confident.

That’s because Kostouros, an incoming Ball State freshman, believes he can make pars when he has to and birdies when he hits good shots into the greens.

Kostouros, a Crown Point graduate, shot a 3-under 69 on Wednesday at Sand Creek Country Club in the first round of the Northern Amateur. That left him one shot out of the lead.

Thomas Allkins, Everton Hawkins, Keegan Bronnenberg and Kyle Flexsenhar all were at 4-under. Brent Ito, Matt Echelmeier and Devin Deogun were also at 3-under.

“My short game is there,” Kostouros said. “That’s the game.”

Kostouros started with birdies at Marsh Nos. 1 and 2.

He eventually got to 4-under when he made birdie on his 16th hole, which was Creek No. 6.

It was No. 17 that was still hurting him after his round.

After hitting into a hazard, Kostouros had a par chip that hit the pin and hung on the edge of the cup.

He was hoping it would fall.

Didn’t happen. He made bogey.

“For some reason, the golf gods didn’t give it to me,” he said. “It looked like it was trying to fall. It was terrible luck.”

Still, it was a good day.

Kostouros wanted a score in the 60s. His previous best round in the Northern Amateur was 71.

“There are a lot of good players here,” he said. “Sixty-eight would’ve been nice.”

It’s been a solid summer.

Kostouros tied for ninth in the Indiana Amateur at Otter Creek Golf Club and tied for 21st in the Indiana Open at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.

He wants to go low again on Thursday in the second round.

“This is a tough course,” he said. “I need to have another 69. I think 10- or 11-under will win this.”

Hawkins, a junior at Northwestern, made six birdies and two bogeys.

After a couple of loose swings early that led to bogeys on Nos. 3 and 6 on the Creek Course, Hawkins was able to find his groove. He didn’t make a bogey on the last 12 holes.

Hawkins, from Irvine, Calif., hasn’t won a tournament since high school.

“I haven’t won anything in a while,” he said. “It’d be cool to start here with my college amateur career.”

Mike Lee, a Crown Point graduate who plays at Indiana Northwest, shot a 3-over 75. He was the second lowest local finisher.

Brett Seward, a Valparaiso University sophomore, shot 78 and Patrick Herrod, a Chesterton product, shot 87.

Rick Grassel, the tournament director, said that Chesterton’s Mitch Davis didn’t play because of a broken finger.

mhutton@post-trib.com

Twitter: @MikeHuttonPT



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