CHARLOTTE – Charlotte Catholic golfer Drew Hackett has come a long way in a short time.
Back in spring 2016, Hackett didn’t even make the Catholic golf team, but that didn’t deter the rising senior. Hackett made the cut as a sophomore in 2017 but was anywhere from the No. 4 to 6 in the Cougars’ lineup.
This past spring was a totally different story.
Hackett was solid from the first match to the last. He dominated during Southern Carolina Conference play before helping Catholic to the school’s first golf state championship in 14 years after a fourth-place overall individual finish at the NCHSAA Class 3A championship.
For his efforts, Hackett is the South Charlotte Weekly Boys’ Golfer of the Year.
“It’s a neat story,” Catholic boys golf coach Shawn Panther said. “I will be using his story for years to come. He now has Division I colleges talking to him. This was a rewarding experience as a coach to see the growth in his game.
“Solid is a great word for it. You look through his scores for the whole year, never had a nine-hole round in the 40s. He came through for us every week in the conference matches. He came through for us in the big matches.”
Hackett fired a sizzling 3-under 69 to win the SCC title on the difficult layout at Firethorne Country Club in Marvin. He followed that up with a third-place finish at the Class 3A-West regional.
Hackett then fired a 76-74 150 6-over par for a fourth-place finish at the state meet to help Charlotte Catholic to a 19-shot victory in the school’s first golf state championship since 2004. Hackett was 3-under on his last eight holes in the final round at the state tournament.
Hackett had a simple explanation for his improved play this past spring.
“I practiced a ton,” Hackett said. “Every day that I had a chance, even if it was
raining, I would go out and spend hours at the range, on the course working on my game. I spent a lot of time on the putting green later in the year and my coach (Panther) gave me a few tips. My putting struggled (as a sophomore) and that kept me from shooting good scores.”
Hackett carded four birdies and one bogey in winning the conference tournament and that victory gave him even more confidence.
“That was a confidence booster,” Hackett said. “When I broke 70, that gave me the confidence that I could do well at regionals and at state.”
Panther said Hackett’s consistency from tee to green and his mental toughness led to his success on the course last season.
“The biggest strength of his game was that he didn’t have a weakness,” Panther said. “He wasn’t my best driver of the golf ball, and he probably isn’t my best putter on the team. But he has a very mature game. He just didn’t have a bad day and when I plugged him into the lineup, I knew I was going to get the mid- to high 30s. He performed beyond my expectations. It’s been a pleasant surprise on how much he has improved.”
Hackett will be one of four returning players next spring and that means Catholic will be a favorite to repeat as state champions.
“I have high expectations for Drew, I have high expectations for the team,” Panther said.
Hackett doesn’t have any scholarships offers yet, but UNC Wilmington, Davidson and James Madison are showing interest. He knows a solid senior year could expand the list of interested college programs.