PORTER TWP. | The thrill of going to the boys golf state tournament with his team is an exciting way to end his high school career, but Boone Grove senior Jeremy Shaffer has a spot in mind that would be the ideal finish.
“We’re definitely happy that the entire team is going down there to play,” Shaffer said. “I think overall the main goal is if we all play well, we can hope for a top-5 finish; but top-10 is fine, I’d be more than happy with that.”
The Wolves shot a 309 at the Lafayette Jeff regional on Thursday to edge out Zionsville by a stroke and advance to the IHSAA state tournament. It’s Boone Grove's second trip to the state championship as a team, including Shaffer’s freshman season in 2011.
Shaffer, who occupies the No. 2 slot in Boone Grove’s lineup, shot a 76 in the regional. The score was impressive in its own right, but how he got there might have been even more so.
“I’m telling you, he did not have his ‘A’ game,” Wolves coach Bob Lukas said. “What was really impressive was the way he gutted it out. He was in the trees and in the rough; really put himself in a lot of predicaments.
“This is a new side of him that seems to be emerging where, even if he doesn’t have his best stuff, he’s still able to get it done with the short game or with his putter. That’s what was so impressive about it to me. He’s emerged as a player even further. He went out there ... and got it done. It was really pleasing to me as a coach to see.”
The baptism-under-fire improvement Shaffer showed in the regional gives Lukas good vibes about the upcoming state tournament. The senior will still occupy that second slot behind Brad Bobrowski — who carded a 73 regional round — but that doesn’t mean Lukas and the Wolves don’t expect big things from Shaffer.
“I wouldn’t exactly call him an unsung hero,” Lukas said. “There have been plenty of times Jeremy has been better than Brad from one match to another. He’s a really talented player and he’s just starting to heat up now.”
A top-10 finish at the state tournament would be the ideal way for Shaffer to end his high school career, but sitting on the team bus Saturday on the way to a practice round at the Legends Golf Club in Franklin, the senior was happy to bask in the memories of Thursday’s regional success.
“We knew we had a chance, but we weren’t making any promises. We were talking about just trying to do the best we could,” Shaffer said. “After we advanced, the emotions were overwhelming.”