For all of its excellence over the years, the Center Grove boys golf program has never managed to lay claim to a state championship. This spring, everything the Trojans have done has been done with the goal of giving themselves another opportunity to reach the summit.
That opportunity is now here.
After thousands of drives, irons, chips and putts, dozens of practice rounds, a seemingly endless run of tournament victories and a record-setting regional performance, it all comes down to what happens today and tomorrow at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
Top-ranked Center Grove goes into the first day of the state championship tournament as the favorite, but there will be 14 other teams just as hungry to win.
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Can the Trojans close the deal? Here’s a look at what they’ll be up against:
IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals
When: Today and Wednesday, 8 a.m.
Where: Prairie View GC, Carmel (par 72)
Admission: $12 (two-day pass)
Live scoring: BirdieFire.com
Who’s in: The top three teams and the next best five individuals from each of the five regional sites
Defending champion: Westfield
Favorite: Center Grove
Dark horses: Carmel, Noblesville, Westfield
Competing teams (regional scores relative to par in parentheses): Center Grove (-10), Noblesville (E), Columbus North (+2), Evansville North (+4), Carmel (+8), Zionsville (+10), Bedford North Lawrence (+13), Westfield (+13), Fort Wayne Dwenger (+14), Park Tudor (+15), Homestead (+20), Castle (+22), Cathedral (+23), Fishers (+27), Fort Wayne Carroll (+28)
Players to watch: Noah Gillard, Ethan Shepherd, Sam Jean and Luke DeHaven, Center Grove; Kevin Stone and Cole Harris, Carmel; Matt Vorndran, Columbus North; Joey Wiseman, Corydon; Yianni Kosturos, Crown Point; Eric Brinker and Owen Price, Evansville North; Luke Miller and Logan Ryan, Fort Wayne Dwenger; Jake Cunningham, Vincennes Lincoln; Andrew Lewis and Noah Shanteau, Westfield; Joey Ranieri and Drew Wood, Zionsville
Center Grove tee times today: Logan Anderson, 9:57 a.m.; Luke DeHaven, 10:06 a.m.; Sam Jean, 10:15 a.m.; Ethan Shepherd, 10:24 a.m.; Noah Gillard, 10:33 a.m.
Outlook: Perhaps more than any other sport, golf can hinge upon which players are running hot and cold on a particular day. Some of that unpredictability is mitigated by the state finals being a two-day event, though — and the larger the sample size, the more likely it is that the wheat will separate itself from the chaff. Center Grove has been the best team in the state for the bulk of the year, and the gap between the Trojans and everyone else has appeared to widen as the season has progressed. There are still a handful of teams capable of pulling off the upset — Carmel and Westfield are always in the hunt, and other contenders such as Evansville North and Noblesville have shown the ability to put up low numbers — but the Trojans have displayed unmatched depth and consistency this spring, and all signs point to this being their moment. Will they seize it?