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Center Grove Golf

Center Grove Wins Boys Golf State Title on Final Putt

Putting It All Together

Center Grove Wins Boys Golf State Title on Final Putt

Photography Provided

The No. 4 state-ranked Center Grove boys golf team won its second IHSAA State Championship by the slimmest of margins, one stroke. After trailing by three strokes at the conclusion of the opening round, the Trojans took the lead on the back nine of the final round on day two, surpassing No. 1 Guerin Catholic and No. 2 Carmel. Center Grove, however, needed to win the last hole by two strokes to secure the team state title. CG senior and number one player Sam Slaughter, in his final tournament as a Trojan, did just that.

After hole 17, he (CG Golf Head Coach Matt Rodman) kept me composed and told me its not over,” Slaughter says. After tripling (hole 17) and knowing its close, I thought I may have put us in a bad position. Theres never been a time coach didnt give me positive vibes. I stepped up and hit the five shots I needed to hit to beat Guerin (Catholic).”

Center Grove GolfAfter tapping in his final putt, Slaughter began the TrojansState Championship celebration by heaving his golf ball as far as he could throw it into the Prairie View Golf Club woods. As Slaughter walked off the 18th green, he was greeted by Rodmans open arms and a long congratulatory hug.

Coach always told us we cant win it on the front nine, but just stay in it,” Slaughter says. The fun happens on the back nine. It came down to 15, 16, 17, and 18. We knew whatever place we got we had a great season. A lot of the season we werent ranked very high. We tried not to put any pressure on us. It was close, but we came out (on top).”

Center Grove senior and number four player Brandon Heffner will miss playing with his teammates and friends.

I love these guys,” he says. “After Slaughter dropped that putt (on 18 to win it), it was a mix of emotions of happiness and sadness, but more happiness. I wish I could have one more ride with these guys, but its awesome to go out this way and theyll be back again.”

I love these guys. Im really going to miss these seniors,” says All-State CG junior golfer Luke Beetz. Theyve been a big part of this season for me and Ive grown because of them. In January we didnt know if we were going to have a season or not. Im glad we got the chance and proved we could win a state title.”

CG junior golfer Sam Hord also earned All-State honors, finishing the State Tournament tied for fourth place.

To win golf tournaments, you have to have a level mindset and especially to win a state title you have to have a level mindset. I tried to come out here and play steady golf.”

CG junior golfer Drew Rowen had tears of joy streaming down his face as he hugged his teammates and coaches.

This means everything,” Rowen says. “We worked so hard, all five of us and even Coach Rodman and Coach Hoover stressed out so much over us. Over the winter, only us five (players) as a team knew we could do this even though no one else believed in us. To win it and hold this trophy means everything.”

CG Golf Assistant Coach Cale Hoover will always have fond memories of this special group of young men.

This is my 20th season coaching high school sports and the whole key to success is building relationships and building trust with the guys,” Hoover says. Once you have that theres a lot you can get done. Those are the parts you remember. Regardless of how this would have ended, this has been one of the most fun seasons if not the most fun season weve ever had.”

In just four short seasons under the leadership of Coach Rodman and Hoover, the Trojans have accomplished two State Championships (2017, 2021) and two State Runners-up (2018, 2019). Rodman says the program has a lot of talent and is very supportive of each other.

Great group of kids from one to 19,” Rodman says. Parents, grandparents, it was phenomenal to see the red and white represented out here on the golf course rooting these guys on as we played.”

Days after the win, Rodman reflected on why this team was able to overcome adversity and achieve its ultimate goal, a State Championship.

The word that keeps coming to my head is trust,” he says. “I truly feel we were able to pull out the victory because of trust. The boys trusted me no matter what. I trusted them no matter what. They trusted each other no matter what. We built a culture of trust and were able to thrive because of it. No matter what happened we trusted that things were going to happen in our favor. I will never forget this group and the bond that we have created. They have left a special lasting impact on my life. Excited to chase another one next season!”

Center Grove Golf

Center Grove High School Principal Dr. Jeff Henderson is extremely proud of how the golf team remained strong and courageous to the final putt.

While the weather conditions for the State Golf Tournament couldnt have been better, the tournament wasnt without drama,” Henderson says. Any time a two-day, team golf tournament comes down to the scores of the last two players on the course, on the last hole, you know that storms have been weathered by both teams and all players. What a great tournament, and what an exciting ending. We are incredibly proud of the hard work, dedication, hours of practice and perseverance of this group of young men. Congratulations to the team and coaching staff on winning the State Championship. Not only is this a great team accomplishment, it provided a fitting punctuation mark on the career of Jon Zwitt as the athletic director of Center Grove High School. Great work by all!”

This State Championship marks the end of an era. After 25 years as CGHS athletic director, Zwitt retired at the end of June. The CGHS Spring sports teams gave Zwitt a farewell he will never forget.

“From the worst of times to the absolute best. From a universal pandemic and a roadblock for everything imaginable to a resurgence in 2021,” Zwitt says. CG experienced the most successful Spring season in history: six out of six Sectionals, four MIC titles, four County Championships, four Regionals, one team State Champion, one individual State Champion, one individual State Runner-up, a third and a seventh-place team finish and a multitude of All-Conference and All-State athletes. The CG Athletic Department thanks our coaches and our student-athletes for their perseverance, their dedication and the memories — highlights that people will want to remember from one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history.”

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