Rozner: Deerfield High grad India in the mix for Web.com title at Glen Club
At the ripe old age of 30, Vince India is a local golfing legend.
The Deerfield High School product would have support here at the Glen Club regardless of his play in the Evans Scholars Invitational.
But his form through 36 holes in the weather-delayed Web.com Tour event is much more the reason for cheering.
India got it to 7-under and was 5 shots back of leader Rob Oppenheim when he walked off the course Friday at 4:45 p.m.
That was good for T-5 at the time, though there were dozens of players still on the property and plenty who wouldn't have time to finish before dark set in.
Nevertheless, India is quite pleased to be contending and have an opportunity going into the weekend.
"It's where I wanted to be," India said with a grin. "If I play the way I know I can play around this place, we should be in the mix come Sunday."
India shot 2-under for the day, with a lone birdie on the back nine (16), but he played so well on the back and had enough looks coming home that he could easily be 4 or 5 shots better.
"You know, it's what you want. You want those opportunities," said India, who played his college golf at Iowa. "I just didn't take care of the par 5s.
"I was really struggling to hit my lines on the greens, so I'll go work on that now a bit and make sure it's all good for tomorrow."
Having won the 2018 Illinois Open at the Glen, India has a big advantage over the field. He displayed that on the 10th hole when he was out of position off the tee and in even worse position greenside, short-sided and knee-deep in fescue.
Somehow, he stopped a chip downhill and made the 10-foot par save coming back and kept his round moving in the right direction.
"I have a lot of good memories to draw on and more tournament rounds than most people here," India said. "It's nice to have moments to look back on, especially if you're in a bad spot. I know I've been there before and know how to play it."
In the middle of the round, a huge storm skirted north of the course, forcing an evacuation of the players and gallery, which few players considered helpful.
Playing partner Jack Maguire was 5-under through 5 holes before the delay, and played the rest of the day at a miserable 5-over, finishing the day at even-par 72.
India, however, was able to find the bright side, despite battling back problems the last few years.
"I'm never a fan of delays. I get all tight and stiff, but I did get to go eat lunch again, which is cool," India chuckled. "I was finding a groove right before they took us off the course. I hit a couple really good shots in a row.
"I don't think a delay benefits anyone, unless you're playing terrible. Then, sure, just get off the golf course and go eat lunch and regroup.
"I think the 2016 Cubs would agree with that as well."
You can tell he feels at home here in Chicago, though he was painfully honest when it came to seeing his high school and college friends hanging around the ropes.
"It feels good, but it's weird, too," India said. "It's hard to say if there's less pressure or more pressure. You always want to play well in front of your friends and family so I'd probably say, honestly, sometimes it's a little bit harder.
"Some of my friends haven't gotten a chance to watch me do what I do and you always want to play good in front of them."
India was really good Friday, hammering fairways and greens, the putter the only reason he didn't carry a lead into the weekend, but you can understand why he wants to show off for his buddies.
Most people don't understand that this is professional golf at a very high level, the only difference between these players and those on the PGA Tour is the chance to play there.
And that can happen in a matter of hours. India has made nine of 12 cuts this year on the Web and he knows that two great days and one big victory in his hometown would punch his ticket to the big time.
Players can pretend it's not on their minds as they play the Web tournaments, but it's always there lurking, the knowledge that it could happen that fast.
"It's always a thought," India said. "I know it's coming. It's a good way to stay positive. I always tell myself, 'I know I'm gonna get hot at some point during the summer.'
"You just don't know when. Hopefully, it's this week."
Vince India might be two days away from glory -- and there couldn't be a better place for him to make it happen.