CRANBERRY TWP — Drive for show, putt for dough?
Central Catholic junior and Cranberry Township resident Brent Rodgers isn’t old enough to play for money yet, but he gets the picture.
The results are showing.
• Rodgers won the WPIAL individual championship tournament at Fox Chapel Golf Club this year, carding a 36-34-70 to edge Indiana’s Matt Holuta by a stroke.
• He led Central Catholic’s team with a 74 during the PIAA Team Championships. Zach Herr of Council Rock North took medalist honors with a 71.
• He won the West Penn Golf Association’s C.R. Miller Match Play event in July — pitting the top junior golfers in the region against each other — and collected 22 birdies in 68 holes along the way.
• Rodgers also became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Remax Long Drive World Championships, held in Nevada the same week as the PIAA Team Championships.
He couldn’t be in two places at once.
“That was an easy decision for me,” Rodgers said. “I had to be there for my team. High school golf is only a couple of years. I can go after the long drive championship for years to come.”
And he just might.
Rodgers set a Central Catholic record by averaging 36.25 strokes per nine holes this year. He was medalist in golf matches involving his team nine times.
“He can hit the ball 330 to 340 feet off the tee,” Vikings coach Corey O’Connor said. “It’s easy for a kid to just want to bomb the ball when you have that kind of ability at that age.
“But Brent’s patience really showed this year. He figured out how to navigate a golf course, hit low irons off the tee at times to set himself up.”
O’Connor said par-5 holes were “virtually guaranteed birdies” for Rodgers.
“He always gets on the green in two shots,” the coach said.
Rodgers said his driving ability has always come naturally.
“I remember my first couple of years in high school ... I just wanted to pound the ball and show off,” he admitted. “This year, I finally figured out I need to refine my game to get to the next level.”
Rodgers considers winning the WPIAL championship the feat he is most proud of this season.
“To beat out a field like that is tough to do,” Rodgers said. “There are so many great golfers out there.”
His immediate plans are to continue working on his short game.
“I know I can still shave strokes there,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers hopes to play Division I college golf.