Bishop Dwenger golfer Logan Ryan named 2018 News-Sentinel Boys Golfer of the Year

Bishop Dwenger senior Logan Ryan tees off on the 18th hole at the IHSAA Boys Golf State Championship last month in Carmel. (Courtesy photo)
Logan Ryan poses for photos after winning the individual state championship at the IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals last month at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel. (Courtesy photo)

The topic of sports specialization in high school is a hot one these days, with many of the opinion that diversification is the right way to go for young athletes.

Not so for Logan Ryan.

In his first two years at Bishop Dwenger, Ryan participated in two sports — football and golf. On the surface, the schedule doesn’t seem to have many conflicts, with football in the fall and golf in the spring.

The reality was far different.

“Playing two sports, I always missed out on summer and fall tournaments because of football,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t until I gave up football that I really started focusing on golf.”

Dropping football allowed Ryan to hone his golf skills year round. It paid off, with his prep career culminating in an individual state championship at the IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals last month as a senior.

In being the first Fort Wayne player to win an individual state title since 1941, Ryan has earned the honor of being the 2018 News-Sentinel Boys Golfer of the Year.

Ryan’s golf ascension at the prep level was rocky. While splitting time between golf and football, he struggled to crack the lineup for Bishop Dwenger. He wasn’t a consistent presence on the varsity level until his junior season, a year that saw him shoot a 15-over 159 at state finals.

Ryan also turned to Quinn Griffing of the Apex Golf Lab. It was Griffing who helped Ryan embrace a patient approach on the course. Whereas most young golfers want to use power over finesse, Ryan’s game has evolved into playing the course for what it gives you.

“I think it is something I have kind of evolved into,” Ryan said. “There was always one double bogey or so that would always hurt me. The biggest step in learning the game was not about how close to the hole you can hit it, but the fastest way you can get it into the hole.”

Ryan’s game thrives on shooting par. Some players take chances on the tee or the green in an effort to birdie. At times that pays off, other times it ends up in a bogey or worse.

That kind of approach put Ryan in the thick of the state championship at Prairie View Golf Club in June. With the course playing at par, his careful strategy put him atop the leaderboard at a one-over 145 as he finished his second round.

He then had to wait.

“I was waiting an hour and a half waiting for the other guys to come in,” Ryan said. “I was super nervous, but also didn’t know how to react or feel. I didn’t think a one-over was going to be good enough.”

Turns out it was good enough to tie for first. The approach on the first playoff hole against defending state champion Noah Gillard of Center Grove was a familiar one.

“Noah pulled a driver while I hit a three wood off the tee,” Ryan said, explaining his strategy of accuracy over driving range.

It worked, with Ryan scoring par while Gillard bogeyed.

“It means the world,” said Ryan about the state championship. “It goes to show how much hard work can pay off.”

The hard work has also led to a collegiate playing opportunity. Ryan is set to attend Emery University in Atlanta, Ga. and study finance. He chose Emery over offers from Butler and Xavier.

“Division I schools can give you more money, but I chose Emery for golf and academic reasons,” said Ryan about the Division III school. “Emery is a top 20 school in the country, and it’s down south so I can practice in the winter.”

You can bet Ryan will play the courses of Georgia much like he has the courses in Indiana — with patience.

2018 NEWS-SENTINEL BOYS GOLF ALL-AREA TEAM

Stephan Bolen, Bishop Luers

Jimmy Bunner, Blackhawk Christian

Camdyn Cobler, Canterbury

Braden Kattman, Homestead

Luke Miller, Bishop Dwenger

Grant Norman, Blackhawk Christian

Logan Ryan, Bishop Dwenger

Gabe Schenk, DeKalb

Carson Stohler, Canterbury

Garrett Willis, Homestead

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