Rensselaer senior Bo Culp never imagined he would get a chance to compete at the highest level of Indiana high school golf.
However, after anxiously awaiting whether his 72 round would hold up Saturday at the LaPorte Regional at Beechwood Golf Course, it became a reality -- although it didn't even hit him until he was on the bus ride back to Rensselaer.
Culp's 72 score was the final individual qualifying spot for Tuesday's first round of the state golf meet, held at The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin. It took four hours of waiting to finally find out that his score stuck.
"It was very nerve-racking," Culp said. "I paced around that golf course. I walked from the scoreboard to the No. 18 green, No. 18 tee, 17 green, just trying to hear some scores that were coming past me. I knew there were a couple that were close, but I squeaked in there."
Culp's accomplishment of qualifying for his first state meet is even more impressive given the fact he didn't play golf before his freshman year. He's also never had a golf lesson.
As a freshman, Culp would post nine-hole scores of around 48 and 18-hole scores in the mid 90's. It's safe to say his game has improved leaps and bounds since that point.
"I started out hitting a 5-iron from 110 yards, and now I'm hitting a 5-iron from 175 yards," said Culp, who has a low nine-hole score of 34 this season. "There's improvement there, and just the knowledge of the game has come along a lot."
Rensselaer coach Jeff Phillips recognized Culp as one of his best leaders this season, along with fellow senior Keegen Holbrook. The consistency level of Culp's game has been a big part of that, as well.
"His consistency is his biggest strength," Phillips said. "He's not going to hit the ball really far. It's nice to have a good kid who is intelligent on your golf team."
Culp would like to advance to Wednesday's second round of the tournament, meaning he'll have to be in the top nine individually.
However, no matter what happens, Culp's golf career is far from over. He'll take his talents to nearby St. Joseph's College, where he'll compete with the Pumas.
Though he's familiar with Sandy Pines, the Pumas' home course, Culp doesn't see that as an advantage.
"Usually, I play better on courses that I don't know," he said. "You just have to play the unexpected. You're not trying to put a shot in a specific spot all the time."