Driving force

The lightning strike on the Hillview Country Club golf course came not in the form of a fiery bolt, but rather a score.

Columbus North sophomore Matt Vorndran, whose lowest score in high school had been a 76, shot a scintillating 68 on May 6 in a three-team meet that also included Franklin and No. 1-ranked Center Grove.

For the defending state champion Bull Dogs, it meant hope that the rebuilding process was beginning to take hold.

For Vorndran, it might have meant more.

“It proved to him he could do it,” said Vorndran’s father, Steve Vorndran. “I already knew he could do it.”

It was a confidence boost for the sophomore, who couldn’t quite hold a spot in the starting lineup last season when the Bull Dogs won the state title.

“I was hitting almost every fairway and every green,” Matt Vorndran said of his round of 68. “Then the putts started falling in. I think it showed I could compete at a high level.”

Assistant coach John Carmichael said North’s staff always has known Vorndran has the ability to be a special high school golfer. But that 68 might be a signal of more good golf to come in a season where the Bull Dogs have struggled.

“It shows that Matt has the potential to shoot a low number in an important event,” said Carmichael, who noted that the sophomore didn’t back down against tough competition when he shot his career low round. Vorndran won medalist honors that day by three strokes.

“That round he had at Hillview was just outstanding,” Carmichael said. “He made seven birdies. It was a glimpse of what he is capable of doing.”

Carmichael said Vorndran has a lot of qualities that make him a solid golfer.

“Matt has a good knowledge of the game and he makes good decisions. He also has an excellent knowledge of the golf swing and what is creating a bad shot and how to fix it.

“He has a good temperament on the course and he has the ability to be a grinder. Length-wise, he is above average. He is an aggressive putter.”

More than anything, Carmichael said Vorndran sees himself as a successful golfer. “Some kids, you can tell they want it, ” he said. “Matt wants it. He is very driven.”

Matt Vorndran has been playing golf since he was 4 years old and he grew up in a family where his older sisters, Alex (now 24) and Alaina (25) were solid golfers.

He started to compete with them in terms of scores when he reached 11 years old. Their father, Steve, taught all the kids how to play and golf was a big part of family entertainment, although their mom, Lee Ann, didn’t play.

By the time he was 12, Vorndran was competing well with boys a couple of years older than him and he started to believe that, with work, he could become a quality golfer.

His father has been his only coach, although Steve Vorndran spent just four years as an actual “coach” with the Northside golf team, both boys and girls over that period.

Everything was going well when he got to Columbus North, but Matt Vorndran was a bit disappointed that he didn’t hold a varsity spot as a freshman.

“I think he learned that you just have to play your game,” Steve Vorndran said. “You have to trust your game and it will all work out.”

It still is going to take a lot of work. Two days after his 68, Matt Vorndran shot 68 on a day when he had trouble hitting a fairway. “It was pretty tough,” he said. “But I got on the range and I found what I was doing wrong.”

His father just wants him to continue believing in himself.

“(When he shot 68) he was playing to targets … he thought his way through the round,” Steve Vorndran said. “Other times he tends to rush. When he gets to a green, he tends to be in a hurry.

“If he slows his game down, if he can concentrate through 18 holes, he can do a lot of good things.”

The time to do good things is coming in a hurry. Columbus North defends its Conference Indiana title on Monday at Harrison Lake and the sectional play is June 5.

“I have to stay focused on the next shot,” Matt Vorndran said.

At a glance

Matt Vorndran

SCHOOL: Columbus North

YEAR: Sophomore

LOW ROUND: 68 on May 6 at Hillview Country Club in Franklin

NEXT MATCH: Columbus North, New Palestine at Shelbyville’s Bear Chase Golf Course, 4:30 p.m.