This is one in a series of stories celebrating 100 years of the IHSA Boys Golf State Finals. Click here to view the other stories and here to order commemorative 100-year state final gear and pin flags.
State Championship Reflections from Drew Pierson
Drew Pierson was the IHSA Class AA individual state champion in 2000 and is now the Director of Golf at Shaker Heights Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio. Here are his reflections on winning his state title:
Golf has been an integral part of my life. In fact, many would say golf has turned into my life as I have made a career out of it. Golf has brought me many highs and many lows; none being higher than winning the 2000 Illinois State High School Championship.
I won in dramatic fashion that year by making birdie from a fairway bunker on the final hole of the Championship. Until the 16th hole that day my focus was entirely on the team portion of the event. My teammates and I had put so much hard work the three previous seasons towards our goal of winning a team total. It wasn’t until my teammate came up to me on the 16th hole and told me regardless of how I finished we would finish 3rd that I began focusing on the individual title. After hitting a poor tee shot on 18, I found myself in a fairway bunker with 152 yards to the pin. I hit a 7 iron to 4 feet and sank the putt to win the title.
To be completely honest, most of that moment and the moments after are a complete blur. It was the most amazing feeling to accomplish something you had always worked for. My victory was a testament to how hard each of us worked, not just myself. We as a group would meet a 6:30 in the morning, electively on our own before school, and practice. To say I won an individual title I feel is a bit selfish because that title was just not won by me. The title was won by my teammates, my parents, my golf instructor, and everyone who made the trip down from Lockport to watch.
The victory helped earn me a scholarship to Florida Gulf Coast University where I played collegiately for four years. Afterwards I got into the golf business and played some mini tour golf but ultimately ended up in Cleveland, Ohio as Director of Golf at Shaker Heights Country Club. The victory 16 years ago at the Den was the gateway to getting where I am today and a large part of who I am today. I still can’t believe it happened the way it did sometimes!
The memories I have from those two days and those four years will be with me forever. I now pass my experiences on to the high school golfers I teach and coach for I hope they can someday feel even a sliver of what I got to feel and experience.