To date, the Center Grove boys golf team has enjoyed a successful season.
But first-year coach Jim Williams said he believes a recent outing in which the Trojans did not perform well may be a key to success at today’s sectional.
The outing in question happened last Saturday, with the Trojans traveling south to Champions Point Golf Club in Henryville for an invitational. Center Grove has
been ranked in the top 10 all season and easily won the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship. With seven golfers averaging scores in the 70s, Williams knows
his team is a contender for the state championship.
But none of that seemed to matter on the course in Henryville, and the Trojans slumped to a fifth-place finish with a four-player aggregate score of 312, far above their normal stroke average for such an event.
Williams wasn’t totally shocked by the performance that day.
“I felt like they might be getting a little complacent,” he said. “It was nothing blatant, but you could just kind of feel it.”
With the disappointing performance in their wake, the Trojans have responded as if they got the message.
On Monday, they competed in an eight-team event at Heartland Crossing Golf Links near Mooresville, which just happens to be the site of the sectional. Center Grove was back to looking like its normal self, winning with a score of 288, 17 strokes better than its nearest challenger.
Six golfers scored in the 70s for the team, led by Christopher Heck’s 71.
Center Grove followed that strong outing by defending its crown in Tuesday’s Johnson County Tournament at Timbergate in Edinburgh.
In that event, the Trojans carded a 290, 35 strokes better than runner-up Franklin. Austin Crowder took his turn as medalist for the Trojans, carding a 68. Heck added a 71, with Zack Carrabine shooting 73 and Hayden Martin a 76.
Today’s postseason-opener also will involve the other six Johnson County schools. The top three teams and top three individuals (from nonadvancing teams) will go on to the June 12 regional at Champions Point in Henryville.
Williams is confident the Trojans’ challenging schedule has adequately prepared them for the postseason road ahead.
“I think it’s given us a shot of confidence after last Saturday,” he said. “That tournament at Champions Point wasn’t the best for us, but I think that gave the boys a little motivation. To (score) 288 Monday and then 290 Tuesday, we’ve been able to get refocused and back on track. They needed to get a little angry after Saturday. They definitely feel like they won’t let something like that slip out of their grasp.
“Hopefully, that’s the case. They’ve been pretty determined these last two days.”
Williams added that the team’s performance Monday at the same course gives him reason for optimism.
“If you’re aggressive and attack it and you’re accurate, you can score pretty well,” he said. “We seemed to be able to take care of that pretty well on Monday. For the last hour of our round then, we were in the rain and handled it pretty well. It was good to do well under some adverse conditions.”
Williams said he is undecided on his five-man sectional lineup, although Crowder, Heck and Martin are certain to be in it.
“I still think this is a team that can make it to the state as a group, and we have multiple players who can do well there individually,” he said. “But we were reminded last Saturday, you need to do it on the golf course. I think they are ready to do that.”