MIDDLEBURY — Acting like students waiting for their test grades, golfers competing in the Greater Elkhart Men's Golf Tournament stood quietly in the clubhouse at Meadow Valley Golf Course waiting for the Championship Flight scores to be posted.
What eventually was revealed was a dominant performance by 16-year old Satchel Pierce. Pierce finished with a three-day total of 208, including a 68 on Sunday, and finished 10 strokes ahead of second place Eric Lebold.
Pierce, who will be a junior this coming year at Edwardsburg High School, entered the day five strokes ahead of Brady Klotz for first place. Klotz ended up third with a 219 total.
It was the second time that Pierce had played in the tournament. He placed fourth last year with a 217, which was six strokes behind Klotz for first place.
"I'm just older and have come a long ways in the past year," said Pierce. "I'm a lot better at scoring and I'm just a lot better golfer."
The ability to stay focused helped Pierce build on his lead on Sunday.
"I just went into it with the same mindset that I had during the first two days," Pierce said. "I like to get a lead and I like to grow it as much as I can. I feel like I did well with that today."
For the most part, Pierce likes the layout of the course at Meadow Valley.
"I love the layout and I like the greens," Pierce said. "I did have one bad shot that went into an unmarked area that I felt should have been marked.
"All three of the courses (at the tournament, Christiana Creek, Bent Oak) set up well for me. They're good scoring courses."
Pierce has been the number one golfer his first two years at Edwardsburg.
There was plenty of family support cheering on Pierce at Meadow Valley. His mother, father, brother and two grandfathers watched him navigate each hole smoothly.
His brother – Carter Goodson – won the tournament two years ago.
"It's nice for them to support me so much," Pierce said. "But I want to play the same as a player even if they're not watching me.
"My brother has had a big impact on me when it comes to golf. My dad has pretty much been my swing coach growing up and my mom has been there to provide me support. Every person has had a big role in my life."
Pierce, who lives in Union, Michigan, got started in golf when he was seven years old.
"I really didn't get into the sport seriously or competitively until I was 11 or 12," Pierce said. "I've put a lot of time out on golf courses. I golf six-to-eight hours a day getting ready for tournaments like this one."
One trip to a golf course landed Pierce at the Master's in Augusta, Georgia. When he was 11 he competed in the drive, chip and putt competition.
"I came in second out of 10," Pierce said. "That was a cool experience that really helped my knowledge of golf."
Several Division I colleges have already reached out to Pierce to play college golf at their campus.
"In a couple months I've got visits," he said. "A lot of Big 10 schools and ACC schools I'm looking at.
"I just want to keep getting better and get lower in the rankings and try to be a better golfer. There's always room for improvement. Nobody's perfect."
All the flight winners won by several strokes.
In the First Flight, Mitchell Wilson finished with a 238 and won by 15 strokes over second place Matt Auger. In the Second Flight, Steve Campbell totaled a 253 and won by 17 strokes over Ryan McBride, while in the Third Flight, Brendon Keagle won by six strokes over David Swinson after totaling a 215 at the tournament.
The first three flights used gross scores, while the Third Flight used net scores.
With fewer golfers each year participating in the tournament, director Bob Dorsam was asked if changes could be coming in the future to the tourney.
"As it looks we're probably going to go next year to a two-day tournament – Saturday and Sunday," Dorsam said. "We're looking at either leaving it in the first weekend of August or possibly moving it to a non-Notre Dame home football weekend in the fall.
"The problem is that the summers have gotten shorter and people are on vacation and people are out and about. A lot of them could not get off on Fridays with the way the (work) industry is right now.
"We are going to put out a survey on e-mails and Facebook for past players to try to see what we need to do to try to get more players. We're also going to have Senior Flights.
"At this point, it doesn't make sense to have a tournament that starts with 37 players. Six years ago we were over 108 and then the last five years it has decreased. It was at 80 something, 60, 50 and last year it was at 38 and this year it was at 37.
"It's the same amount of work if I'm doing a tournament for 144 players as it is if I'm doing a tournament with 38."
GREATER ELKHART TOURNAMENT
Robert Stockman`87`85`WD`—`No score
Travis Hermon`81`80`WD`—`No score
Donnie Parsons`96`87`WD`— `No score
David Swinson`69`79`73` —`221
Charlie Himes`101`101`WD`—`No score