A photo shoot earlier this week allowed Chuck Wenning and Zack Carrabine to meet for the first time.
Nearly four decades apart in age, these Johnson County golfers have demonstrated an ability to excel in match play competition.
Longtime Franklin resident Wenning, 57, recently won the IGA Senior Match Play Championship at Harrison Lake Country Club in Columbus, defeating defending champion and top seed Gordie Rees of Muncie, 3 and 2.
The following day, Carrabine, 18, took care of business at Harrison Lake, capturing the IGA Match Play Championship with a 1-up conquest of Noblesville’s Vince Drahman.
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These accomplishments serve as quite the endorsement for the golf being played locally.
“Johnson County is very strong in golf right now,” said Wenning, who worked his way through the Senior bracket by defeating third-seeded Mike Bell of Indianapolis, 1-up, and No. 2 seed Dave Williamson of Crawfordsville, 2 and 1.
“We have good facilities here and we have good instructors here. It all ties together.”
Ironically, both Wenning and Carrabine played for boys state runner-up programs at Franklin Community High School (1974) and Center Grove (2015), respectively.
The similarities don’t stop there.
Both embrace the feel of match play in which each of the 18 holes is its own separate competition; ultimately, the player winning the most number of holes is victorious.
“I love match play and have my whole life. I won the Indianapolis City Junior Tournament in 1975 and now 40 years later … my personality is aggressive, which fits match play. If you double-bogey a hole it’s just one hole instead of losing two or three shots,” Wenning said.
“I enjoy the thrill of competing more than the fear of failure.”
Wenning defines match play as high risk, high reward. Carrabine concurs, adding that deviating from stroke play enables him to become a bit more demonstrative on the golf course compared to matches while representing Center Grove.
“In match play it’s one of the few times you can show a lot of emotion. It’s just you and who you’re playing against. When I play stroke play I don’t make a lot of big numbers or birdies, but in match play you can be more aggressive,” Carrabine said.
“I was unsure of how it would go being my first amateur event. But the golf ball doesn’t know who you are. My goal was to be 3-up through nine holes, and if I did that consistently I thought I could beat anybody.”
Now that they’ve met and exchanged pleasantries, Wenning and Carrabine are again walking different paths.
Wenning, who retired last year after being employed as a superintendent/foreman for Indianapolis Electric, is among those golfers representing Indiana in the Tri-State Challenge from Aug. 19 to 21.
The event, which has golfers from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio battling for state bragging rights, takes place at The Golf Club at Stonelick Hills just east of Cincinnati.
Carrabine in early August attempts to make Butler University’s men’s golf team as a walk-on.
He’ll be doing so with no shortage of momentum.
Listed as the No. 4 golfer on his high school team this spring, Carrabine in June quietly game-planned his way through two tours of Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel to shoot 75-71—146 at the boys state finals.
Carrabine’s total tied him for the 12th spot individually, though it turns out he was just warming up.
Aside from winning the IGA Match Play Championship, Carrabine on Monday placed second to Muncie’s Keegan Bronnenberg by a single shot at the Masters Tour Championship.
This time around Carrabine’s 36-hole score at Prairie View was 72-70—142.
“It was obviously disappointing getting second as a team (at state). I wouldn’t say this summer has made up for it, but it’s nice to know I kept my play at a high level,” he said.