Now in its 18th season, the girls golf program at Indian Creek High School has yet to be represented at a State Finals.
Hannah Johnson has put herself in a position to change that.
Earlier this week the Braves’ No. 1 player the past two seasons qualified for the Washington Regional to be played Saturday at Country Oaks Golf Club in Montgomery, — located seven miles east of Washington.
One of the senior’s best rounds of golf might be enough to qualify her for the state finals, which is Oct. 2 and 3 at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
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“If that happened, it would be awesome,” said Indian Creek coach Rose Moore, who since helping start the program in 1998 has watched two other Braves golfers make it to regional in Johnson’s sister, Mariah, in 2011, and Tori Caudill in 2013.
These efforts plus Hannah Johnson making it to regional last season are viewed as the program’s high-water achievements.
Attempting to end a program’s nearly two-decade state finals dry spell might seem like a lot of responsibility for one golfer, though Johnson isn’t fazed.
“The thing about Hannah is she doesn’t panic,” Moore said. “Even if she has one bad hole it doesn’t affect her.”
Johnson’s most recent postseason events proved this to be true.
After double-bogeying the par 5 first hole at last year’s regional at Country Oaks, the senior settled down to par three of the next four holes on her way to an 89 — 10 shots short of being the last individual qualifier.
“I was disappointed I didn’t make it. I feel I could have with a better start. Making it to State is really important to me. Being a senior being the only girl at Indian Creek to make it would mean a lot to me,” Johnson said.
Johnson almost didn’t get the chance. Fast-forward to Monday’s Bloomington North Sectional where, again, she managed to recover from a disappointing start.
Johnson was immediately 3-over after carding an 8 on the first hole at Cascades Golf Course. She nonetheless went on to produce an 83 for a second consecutive trip to regional.
Again awaiting Johnson is the 18-hole Country Oaks layout in which water hazards come into play on approximately half of the holes.
“Part of it is the length of the course, and there are a couple of tricky holes, too. There are some longer doglegs and on No. 18 you have to hit over the water,” Moore said. “But I think Hannah is more mature this time. She plays a lot of golf over the summer.”
Johnson also takes lessons from Chris Clemens, PGA Director of Instruction at Winding River Golf Course in Indianapolis.
Clemens, who has closely observed Johnson’s progress as a golfer since she was in middle school, feels her overall skillset is better at this point than it’s ever been.
“Hannah has really developed her game over the summer and during this high school season. Her swing has never been as good as it is right now,” he said. “And mentally, she’s strong. Hannah doesn’t get worked up and I think that’s huge for a golfer.”
Johnson for her part admits to being a little nervous, but said she plans to treat the upcoming regional like any other tournament.
Deep down, she knows it’s anything but.