The Center Grove boys golf team has designs on winning its first-ever state championship in a couple of weeks.
The Trojans looked the part Thursday.
Indiana’s top-ranked team set the tone for the postseason with a dominating victory at Johnson County Boys Golf Tournament on Thursday at The Legends.
Led by a round of 68 from Noah Gillard, Center Grove posted a team score of 282, outpacing runner-up Franklin by 38 strokes.
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Greenwood (335) was third, followed by Whiteland (342), Indian Creek (371) and Edinburgh (441).
“We’ve been really, really riding the momentum train the last few weeks as far as how well we’ve been playing,” Center Grove coach Matt Rodman said. “Putting up lots of good scores.”
The five-player All-County team actually was made up entirely of Trojans. Ethan Shepherd turned in a round of 70, while Sam Jean, Luke DeHaven and Logan Anderson each finished at even-par 72.
The Trojans had the upper hand right from the beginning, as Gillard put together the best round of the day as part of the opening group. The junior made the turn at even par before kicking it into gear on the back side.
“I hit probably a 50-footer for eagle on 10,” Gillard said, “and that gave me a lot of confidence, because I lipped out a lot of putts on the front. So I would say that really started my round.”
The runner-up Grizzly Cubs were paced by Javan Johnson’s 76, while Matt Jordan and Emerson Downing each shot 79.
Eric Moenkhaus and Jaden Hornbeak paced the Woodmen with rounds of 80, and Haden Hardesty was just behind them with an 81.
Whiteland, which finished last a year ago, improved by more than 90 strokes in moving up to fourth. Jacob Johnson led the Warriors with an 81.
Chandler Donahue was the top scorer for Indian Creek at 85, while Bladen Hancock led Edinburgh with an 88.
With the sectional tournament coming up Monday, Rodman was glad to see his team put together another strong showing.
“I think this gives us a lot of confidence going into the last two weeks,” he said. “The golf course was actually set up quite challenging today as far as the length that we played — very much comparable with what the state tournament round’s going to play at.”