Aced a favorite with key preparation
In May, Indiana University fifth-year senior Sarah Dusman will be finishing her college golf career. The now 23-year old Hoosier golfer wasn’t thinking that far ahead when interviewed in August 2015 at Sycamore Hills.
With one exception.
“I absolutely plan to defend the title in 2016,” she said.
The “title” just happened to be her first Fort Wayne Women’s Golf Association Championship, earned last July at Fort Wayne’s Brookwood Golf Club.
Sycamore Hills was all business as the club prepared for the Hotel Fitness Championships coming to town in September. Seated at a table under the shade of an umbrella, Dusman explained she was working as an intern for Bruno Event Team, the tournament coordinator. It was a requirement of her degree in Sports Marketing and Management from IU this spring.
Dusman, who had played in the tournament seven times before, used a dramatic 5-iron from 175 on the par-5 18th hole and was 25 feet from the cup. She promptly sank the putt for eagle, besting Ashton Taft by two while 2013 champion Karley Dobis finished third.
With Dusman at IU, Taft at IPFW and Dobis at Ball State, it was an all-state-college final pairing. All were seniors heading into the 2015-2016 season.
Dusman, who played four years at Canterbury High School in Fort Wayne, also happens to live near the 2nd tee at Sycamore Hills. Last summer she spent a lot of time with PGA Pro and Sycamore Hills PGA head professional Tim Frazier.
“I’ve worked with Tim pretty much my whole life,” Dusman said. “We have already had at least 15 lessons this summer.”
In an email, Frazier shared his thoughts on Dusman, including their nearly lifelong friendship and the fact she was the flower girl at his wedding.
“She has a wonderful attitude, taking the good days with the not-so-good days. Her work ethic is diligent, trying to get a little better each practice session, season and year. She is very much the perfect student, possessing a love for the game and embracing the challenge presented,” he said.
“Sarah began playing the game by participating in our Junior Golf Programs at Sycamore Hills. I would call her a ‘late bloomer’ with competitive golf, first playing in high school.”
After her freshman year at IU – and a chance meeting with IU’s women’s golf coach – she was convinced to try to “walk on” to the women’s golf team.
The road to IU began for Dusman at the 2012 PGA Junior Series event where she met IU coach Clint Wallman. He invited her to come to campus for some golf before school started. Her play impressed Wallman enough to offer Dusman a walk-on role.
During her competitive career, Dusman has had ups and downs, and nothing was more “down” than being injured in 2014 and unable to play.
“It was in the fall during training,” she said. “It was a hamstring tear that lasted about three months, and I could not play again until the 2014 Big Ten spring season.”
The 2015 Fort Wayne Women’s City Champion has played at IU in what Dusman described as “an extremely competitive environment where positions on the team can change every day.
“Playing time depends on how well you play and the coach’s decisions,” she said. “2015-16 looks to be a better season with a strong group of seniors.”
The Lady Hoosiers have won seven Big Ten Championships, the last being in 1998. The next event is set for April 22-24 in Indianapolis.
For her 2015 city title, Dusman remembered the hard work, the lessons and the encouragement from all corners, especially Frazier.
“Sarah has been overdue for a win like the Women’s City Tournament, and I believe this win is the beginning of much more to come,” Frazier said.
Dusman believes preparation was key to her city tournament victory.
“In the city tournament, we played from the women’s red tees, which played really short (5,364 yards). College players are used to playing 6,300 (yards) and more while hitting 5 irons and 6 irons into the green.”
With that in mind, Dusman, who plays a Titleist PRO-V1 ball, Titleist AP1 irons and TaylorMade woods, spent a lot of time with her short irons and putting the week before the tournament.
Family support has always been a big influence for Dusman. Her dad Ray and mom Judy are her biggest fans, she said. “Dad caddied for me the second day at the city tournament,” she said. Days one and three had a family friend on the bag.
“The city tournament is my favorite. It’s fun, and I always want to win,” she said. “As long as I live in Fort Wayne, I plan to play.”
First appeared in the 2016 Fort Wayne Magazine’s Golf Guide.