Day 1 didn’t go exactly how Center Grove imagined it would at Prairie View Golf Club, but the Trojan boys are still very much in contention for the first state championship in program history.
Considering how far south the day could have turned after a nightmarish ninth hole, they’re OK with where they stand heading into today’s final round.
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The Trojans finished Tuesday’s 18 holes with a 4-over-par total of 292, good for second place and a spot in the final grouping this morning. Center Grove is six shots behind Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference rival Carmel and one ahead of defending state champ Westfield.
“Our position is the beauty of a 36-hole tournament,” Rodman said. “There’s not a chance that we’re out of it; we’re six strokes back right now. So we’ve got ground to make up, but we’re going to go out there and try our hardest and start firing at pins and making some birdies tomorrow.”
Ethan Shepherd led the way for the Trojans with a 71, while Noah Gillard and Logan Anderson each shot an even-par 72. Sam Jean and Luke DeHaven both shot 77.
The big trouble spot for Center Grove was the par-4 ninth hole, which the Trojans played at a collective 9 over par shortly after play resumed following the second weather delay of the day. DeHaven took a triple-bogey 7 on the hole, and Jean followed up with a 9 in the next group.
Fortunately for the Trojans, that’s about when Anderson caught fire. After playing the front nine at even par, the sophomore birdied the 11th and 12th holes and eagled the par-five 13th, momentarily vaulting into the overall individual lead before giving some shots away.
“I hit a good shot on 11 and had a good par save on 10,” Anderson said of his hot streak, “then went birdie-birdie-eagle and just really got going.”
Center Grove regrouped well as a whole after No. 9, playing holes 10 through 13 at minus-five as a team.
“It was pretty challenging with the rain delays early on,” Shepherd said, “but I felt like we kept it together.”
The five Trojan players had barely started their rounds before the first lightning delay, which came just after 10:40 a.m. and lasted for a little more than an hour. Shepherd and DeHaven each started on a good note with a birdie on the opening hole.
Center Grove kept its momentum going when play resumed. Jean picked up a birdie on the second hole and Gillard tapped in for one on the par-5 third. Shepherd added another birdie on the par-3 sixth to move to 2 under before the second delay, which started at 1:33 p.m. and lasted for a little less than two hours.
After a long Tuesday that could have gone better but also could have been a lot worse, the Trojans’ game plan today is pretty straightforward.
“Just go pretty low, I guess,” Shepherd said. “We’re going to need to.”