Being the No. 1 player for the Center Grove girls golf team, Sydney Abbott understands what’s expected of her.
The senior, after all, expects it from herself.
“I like being No. 1 even though it’s a little nerve-wracking at times. People look up to me, and I feel entitled by it,” said Abbott, who served the same role a year ago as the Trojans won the sectional on their way to a 10th-place finish at the IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals.
“You have to work for it, but it’s very rewarding.”
Abbott’s shot-making accuracy never has been questioned. She worked during the offseason to gain the strength necessary to hit longer shots and make her game more college-ready (she’s committed to Grace College, an NAIA program near Warsaw).
The results have been impressive.
Abbott earned medalist honors with an even-par 72 at the Johnson County Tournament at Hickory Stick Golf Club. She’s also posted scores of 40 or under in assorted nine-hole dual meets.
Abbott’s favorite round of golf this season is the 38 she shot to help Center Grove upset fifth-ranked Carmel in a triangular meet at Hickory Stick (Lawrence Central finished a distant third).
“Sydney has always been very consistent hitting it very straight,” said Scott Downing, the PGA director of instruction at Hillview Country Club and Abbott’s swing coach for the past year-and-a-half. “Now she’s probably 10 to 15 yards longer with her driver.
“But I know she’s now longer with everything, not just the driver.”
At a young age, Abbott sampled other sports, such as basketball and softball. In time, golf became her sport of choice.
“I just liked it better than the other sports. The best part is the end of a round and knowing you did well,” Abbott said.
Her positive demeanor factors into other aspects of her life, as well.
Abbott carries a 3.7 grade-point average and is leaning toward majoring in occupational therapy at Grace College, where as a freshman she’ll play for the second Lancers team (the program is currently in its debut season).
“I’m looking forward to taking my game to the next step and preparing for the real world. I would like to help special needs kids with their motor skills,” Abbott said.
Until then, she aspires to help lead the Trojans through the remainder of a busy September schedule. It includes Saturday’s Franklin Central Invitational at Smock Golf Course, a pair of dual events at Dye’s Walk and the Southport Sectional, hosted by The Legends Golf Club.
The state finals are Oct. 2 and 3 at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
Abbott knows the Prairie View layout well having shot 83-96–179 to lead the way for Center Grove at the 2014 state finals. More recently, the Trojans won the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference Meet there as Abbott carded a 40 in an event shortened to nine holes.
Regardless of how his team fares the remainder of this season, Trojans coach Jim Williams is confident his No. 1 player’s demeanor won’t change no matter the course, competition or situation.
“Sydney never gets rattled. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her upset in the four years she’s been on varsity. I think that’s a great advantage for her,” Williams said.
“Some kids when they get upset lose everything. She’s always been very even-keeled.”
THE ABBOTT FILE
Name: Sydney Abbott
Family: Parents, John Abbott and Amanda Cooper; brother, Jack, 15
Favorite TV show: “Friends”
Favorite food: Dessert
Favorite athlete: Rory McIlroy
Favorite team: Indiana University men’s basketball