Former Valparaiso golfers Bobby Jacobs and Kyle Meihofer will be feeling right at home during this week’s Northern Amateur.
The pair, who helped the Vikings to a 12th-place finish at the state finals in June, will take on a field of top amateur golfers from across the country in the 54-hole tournament, which gets underway today at Sand Creek.
Jacobs is a member at Sand Creek and has played both competitive rounds on the course and just for fun with Meihofer.
Jordan Lenard (LaPorte), Nick Grubnich (Crown Point), Jeff Ryan (Sand Creek club champion) and Ryan and Kyle Grassel (Chesterton) join Jacobs and Meihofer to give the Northern Amateur a local feel in its third year since the tournament resumed after a 10-year hiatus.
Jacobs said sleeping in his own bed would be a big advantage for him and the other local golfers over the players who aren’t from the region. He also said his familiarity with Sand Creek’s greens would be a big help.
“It will be a big advantage for sure knowing the consistency, speed and slope of the greens,” Jacobs said. “There will be lots of good players there. Where I will be able to take advantage is on the greens.”
Meihofer said playing a course he is familiar with will make the event seem less like a tournament.
“It’s nice to have a tournament in Northwest Indiana,” he said. “Playing right down the road will give me a home-course advantage. It won’t feel like a tournament so much as some rounds to have fun.”
Jacobs and Meihofer have competed against each other previously in junior and other amateur tournaments, and being competitors this week (and beyond as they begin their careers as Missouri Valley Conference foes at Bradley and Illinois State, respectively) won’t supersede their friendship.
“We always have each other to root for and cheer each other on,” Jacobs said. “We always have a match going on, and it is always fun playing with him. We will play a practice round together (on Tuesday), and if we play well, maybe we will be paired together later on.”
“When Bobby and I play in a tournament, we have a friendly rivalry,” Meihofer said. “We push each other to do well. It’s fun to play with him and have someone to talk to about my round and compare shot for shot with him.”
Both Meihofer and Jacobs have played in some major events already this summer, with appearances in the Indiana Amateur, Indiana Open and Indiana State Junior between them, so they will be unfazed by the challenges Sand Creek offers.
“I’m going to approach it as another round of golf,” Meihofer said. “Every day is moving day for me to move up the leader board and keep moving up the leader board.”