While Tyler Nicol admits to enjoying his spring break in Orlando this week, it's not all fun and games when the Boone Grove senior golfer hits the links.
"I consider it work, but I'm still having fun," said Nicol, who carded a 69 during a round in Sebring, Fla. "I'm trying to improve my game, and I feel like I'm ready for the season to start."
Nicol had an impressive junior campaign, especially in the postseason. He was the Boone Grove Sectional medalist with a 74, finished second at the LaPorte Regional with a 71, then carded an opening-round 70 at the state final.
After shooting a 74 in the final round to finish tied for 17th, Nicol recalls accentuating the negative.
"I was disappointed," said Nicol, who bogeyed five holes on the back nine -- including Nos. 17 and 18. "I didn't play too bad the first day, but I just don't know what happened on the final four holes (of the second day). I just kind of lost it out there."
Despite his finish, Nicol became the second Wolves golfer to make the championship round. Former teammate and 2009 Boone Grove grad Taylor Noel placed ninth as a senior.
On the drive back to Porter County, Wolves coach Gary King pointed out to Nicol that Noel missed the second-day cut in his first state finals trip.
"Tyler thought he should've done better, but I put things in perspective," King said. "I told him that he finished in the top one percent of high school golfers who played in the state this season.
"I told him to think that even as good as Taylor (Noel) was, he didn't make the cut as a junior. I told Tyler that he accomplished something, and that kind of pepped him up really quick. Tyler knows he can play better, and he's looking forward to another shot at it."
Now the focus is on the regular season and putting himself in prime position for another postseason run.
"I feel pretty composed right now," Nicol said. "Making state last year was a boost for me. I had always flopped at the regional before, so getting to state was a real confidence boost."
Besides maintaining a focus on his game, Nicol has picked up an advanced leadership role on the squad.
"I more or less feel like the leader," Nicol said. "When they have trouble, they come to me. We're having a good time."
Nicol hasn't made any decisions about his college future but another quality golf season could answer some questions.
"I've been talking to a few smaller schools," Nicol said. "Maybe after this (season), I'll know more.
"(The Sebring round) helped. I didn't know if I would shoot that good right now. Knowing I can do that makes me feel a lot better about my progress."