News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local Interest

July 20, 2012

HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Yelovich still striking the ball long on LDA Tour

TERRE HAUTE — In June 2011, I wrote a feature story about former Indiana State basketball center Mick Yelovich making a name for himself as a golfer on the Long Drivers Association (LDA) Tour.

Yelovich, who played for the Sycamores from 2004 to 2008 and visited Terre Haute over the weekend, placed third (second among Americans) in the 2009 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships at Mesquite, Nev., where he took home $20,000 for his efforts.

Still hoping to capture his first world title, he boosted his confidence June 29-30 by posting his first LDA Tour victory in the Heartland Shootout at Red Tail Run Golf Course in his hometown of Decatur, Ill. With his longest drive soaring 385 yards, he received a check for $10,000 afterward.

“I was hitting them solid the whole time, but I never really killed one,” the 6-foot-9, 300-pound Yelovich told me.

“But in the semifinals, I hit it 379 yards and my opponent went out of bounds. Then in the finals, I hit it 372 yards and my [new] opponent did the same thing [hit the ball out of bounds]… At the end of the day, I was holding the trophy,” he added.

Yelovich admitted that his first LDA triumph occurring in his hometown made it even sweeter.

“That’s where I practice at,” he said of the Red Tail Run course. “At the course I work at [South Side Country Club in Decatur], the driving range is only about 250-280 yards, so I can’t practice there.”

Now 26, Yelovich is among 128 qualifiers who will compete in the 2012 World Long Drive Championships on Oct. 22-25 at Mesquite. This will be the fourth time he has entered the prestigious event.

“I’d like to win at least one world championship,” he emphasized. “I’ve been working out and feeling good. I’ve been hitting it well and I’ve got more endurance than I had before. You get six balls each round … and you hope one of them will take a lucky bounce.”

• Wrestlers reunion — If you’ve lived around Terre Haute even close to as long as I have, you should remember when Indiana State had a wrestling team.

The program, which debuted in the late 1950s, was chopped from the university’s athletic department in 1986. But that doesn’t mean former ISU wrestlers have cut memories of those fun times from their minds.

In that spirit, former ISU wrestler Greg Archer (1973-74 after transferring from Marshall) is helping put on the fourth ISU wrestlers reunion this weekend in Terre Haute.

Archer estimated that about 25-30 former grapplers, former assistant coaches and a former head coach (Fran McCann) are coming back for all or one of the following: a reception tonight, a banquet Saturday night and a brunch Sunday.

“It’s always a great joy when you have an opportunity to reminisce with your old teammates,” Archer said. “It’s also nice to see the wrestlers who came before you and after you.”

Off the record, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them slip over to the Ballyhoo for old time’s sake on at least one of those nights (insert “wink” symbol here).

David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at david.hughes@tribstar.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.

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