Central Catholic's Rodgers seeking to become all-around golfer
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The game of golf is a myriad of physical and mental skills that when put together can lead to success.
For Central Catholic junior and Cranberry resident Brent Rodgers, his golf game has skyrocketed lately thanks in part to his ability to drive the ball like the fictitious character Happy Gilmore, but without the antics.
Rodgers tallied a drive of 429 yards, two feet and six inches at the Remax World Long Drive Championship, good enough for a first-place finish.
“This is something I do for fun, a hobby,” Rodgers said about his driving ability. “My passion is to play college golf. I know I have the long game, and my short game is coming along.”
Rodgers' driving distance is not a fluky thing. At the Remax competition, he hit 9 of 16 drives more than 415 yards.
“When I was young, my dad put a heavy sand wedge in my hand and had me hit the ball as hard as I could,” Rodgers said. “I grew up around golf, my dad has been doing long drive competitions since the 1970s.”
He attributes a little of his success to his dad and also to baseball, which helped him with his power.
“He has a certain swing, and his swing speed helps him overpower courses,” said Corey O'Connor, Rodgers golf coach at Central Catholic. “It's funny, I will invite friends to come out and watch him play. I encourage people to come out and see him play. He is talented and amazing to watch.”
Although his talent is amazing, so is his sense of team. Last year, Rodgers qualified for the Remax World Finals, but that competition conflicted with the WPIAL team championships. Rodgers opted to be a team player rather than vie for individual accolades. His unselfish nature paid off. With a WPIAL individual title already in hand, Rodgers helped his team earn the team gold as well.
The silver lining to the golden season is that Rodgers is in line for another chance at the Remax World Finals in Las Vegas. He has qualified locally, and next is a regional qualifier at Conneaut Lake's Oakland Beach Gold Course in mid-July.
He was the youngest qualifier last year for the world finals, and if he qualifies this year, he will again be the youngest qualifier.
The reward for winning the event, a cash prize of $250,000, is one Rodgers said he would not accept if obtained.
“My goal is not the long drive, it's just for fun and something to do with my dad,” Rodgers said. “Golf is my passion, and I do not want to affect my amateur status … taking the money would cost me my college eligibility.”
Rodgers wants to have a great senior season at Central Catholic and then move on to college. At the moment, Allegheny College has an eye on him, but heading south to Costal Carolina or another school where he can practice all year is appealing to him.
Although he is a scratch golfer who owns the school record with a score of 36.2 for nine holes (the previous record was 36.4), Rodgers still wants to improve. He has several junior tournament championships on his resume, but has his sights set on improving his short game in order to be a complete golfer.
“As a freshman and a sophomore, he had the long ball, but last year as a junior the short game started to click,” O'Connor said. “He can control a four-iron off the tee and then hit a seven-iron to the green. He is able to go around a course and understand the distances.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shady Side Academy boys golf returns experienced lineup
- Duo of youngsters look to lead Jeannette golf team
- Positive attitude sparks Plum golfer
- Franklin Regional boys golf expects strong follow-up to playoff campaign