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Nick Piesen’s competitive debut at the Pfau Course results in Hoosier Am title

The Pfau Course isn’t home yet, but it will be soon for Nick Piesen. Once he moves onto the Indiana campus, he’ll get plenty more reps at the Hoosier’s home golf course. Based on his first chapter at the Pfau, the rest of the story looks promising.

Piesen, an incoming Indiana freshman from Strongsville, Ohio, ran away with the Hoosier Amateur title on Thursday. He was the only player in the 84-man field to finish three rounds under par.

Piesen had only played the Pfau Course once last summer on a trip to the Indiana campus in Bloomington, and simply intended to get some reps, hit some shots and learn the course at this week’s tournament. He came out of the gate with a 3-under 68 and built a two-shot lead.

“I felt good, it was really nice to shoot that right away,” he said. “I just felt like I could play that course and I just felt really confident in my game. It’s not easy to hold on to a lead but I’m really happy that I did.”

Piesen opened the second round with four birdies in his first nine holes. A rain delay forced the continuation of that round the next morning, with the final round to follow.

“Those four birdies I had on the front,” Piesen said. “I made putt after putt.”

Piesen capped off a second-round 67 and then brought in a 1-over 73 to finish at 5 under, six shots ahead of runner-up Carter Smith, who plays for Ball State. Smith has been on a tear since the spring, having won the Don Benbow Invitational for his first collegiate title before playing the National Golf Invitational with his team. He was eighth at the Indiana Amateur at the Pfau Course, a quarterfinalist at the IGA Match Play and third in the Indiana Open.

Carsen Silliman, who plays for Southern Illinois-Carbondale, and Noah Gillard, another Indiana player, tied for third at 3 over.

Piesen’s tournament total of 5 under is the lowest in the four-year history of the Hoosier Amateur, and matches the winning score from the Indiana-hosted Hoosier Collegiate Invitational last fall. Last month, when the Pfau Course hosted the Indiana State Amateur, the winning score was 2 under for 54 holes.

Piesen credits his scoring with having turned a corner on the greens after a recent conversation with his dad. Roughly a week before the Hoosier Amateur, Piesen, a self-described feel putter, started lining up the golf ball on the greens.

“It’s changed my whole putting perspective,” he said.

Asked where he thought teeth came out at the Pfau Course, Piesen immediately referenced the greens. Still, he had 28 putts in the first round and 27 the next round.

“I putted really well this week but off the tee, I hit a fade and I think it’s a fader’s golf course and I really liked how that felt,” he said. “About every hole I felt really comfortable.

“My short game was really spot-on this week.”

The Hoosier Amateur is Piesen’s first tournament win since claiming the AJGA Lanto Junior Championship in June. It marks a major transition from junior golf to college golf. Piesen spotted Indiana coach Mike Mayer in his gallery throughout the week and appreciated that his future teammates were watching as he finished up.

Piesen, a Hoosier commit since 2021, expects Indiana to set him up nicely for whatever the future in golf holds for him.

“The golf course speaks for itself,” he said. “It’s such a hard course and I loved everything about it. It’s going to make me better. It will make me hit different shots, just make me a better player.”



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