Junior diary: Winning the state championship
It was an eventful week for me as we had our Indiana High School State Golf Championship. Heading into the week, our team was looking to defend our state championship title from last season. We were all starting to play well and our chances were looking very good. We played well at regional and finished second, and I finished first in a playoff. Our hopes were high as we headed into state.
The first day didn’t go quite how we planned. Everyone on our team struggled – we just couldn’t get anything going on a great day for scoring. At the end of the day, we found ourselves down 15 shots to a Brebeuf team that shot 4-under par. Individually, I scrambled around the course and didn’t hit very many quality shots. However, my short game saved me and kept me in the tournament as I shot a 67. This was just another example of how important a good short game is to successful golf. After the first day, our team was in sixth place and I was tied for fourth, just two off the lead.
Patrick Rodgers, 17, will file a diary each week this summer as he plays some of the premier junior events in the country.
Rodgers, a second-team AJGA All-American, is No. 7 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings.
Our team needed a great round on day two. My only goal was to make as many birdies as I could so we could make a comeback in Round 2. I got off to a slow start but was 1 under through five holes. I chipped in for eagle on No. 6 and got really excited. That chip got my round going and at that point I knew I could shoot a low one. I started the back nine with four straight birdies, but my coach told me that our team was out of it. He also told me that I had gained a 4-shot lead on the field. I made a couple of careless bogeys and only held a 2-shot lead on the 16th tee. I made birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to seal the deal and win my first individual state championship after shooting a 64. It was a great feeling to play well and win my state’s championship. However, I was a little disappointed because our team didn’t contend. I can say it’s a much better feeling to win as a team and celebrate with teammates, but I’m not complaining.
I am very excited to start my summer golf. I have a busy schedule that includes the Western Junior this week at Blue Mound Country Club in Wisconsin. I am also playing the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, the Indiana Open, Southern Amateur and the Junior PGA Championship. I am really excited to play some great venues against some of the best junior players in the world.
I have been getting ready for the Western Junior, and I was fortunate enough to play with Jeff Overton for a round this week. My buddy Nick, my coach and a few players from IU played with me and it was nice to just relax and play and learn from some college guys and a player on the PGA Tour. I learned a lot and feel like my game is ready for this week.
I look forward to a great event and I hope everyone has a great week.