FRANKLIN | Nick Grubnich admitted it wasn't a perfect round of golf, but the Crown Point senior will still be making his third career trip to today's championship round of the IHSAA state golf finals.
Grubnich carded a 1-under-par 71 in the opening round Tuesday. Under state finals rules, any golfer shooting par or under automatically qualifies for the final round.
The Indiana University recruit placed second as a freshman and fifth last season.
"It definitely helps to have the experience," said Grubnich, who has four other state-finals rounds at par or under. "It kind of feels normal after a while."
Warsaw sophomore Tyler Ostrom tied the finals record for 18 holes with a 63. Columbus North's Tyler Duncan set the mark in 2007.
Grubnich, who is tied for 12th, had three birdies on his round, and just one hole over par. He tees off No. 1 today at 6:48 a.m.
Grubnich, who started on the back nine, hit his tee shot out of bounds on No. 6. -- his 15th hole of play.
"It wasn't pretty", he said. "I was kind of disappointed with how I finished.
"I still felt pretty good about my round. I just have to play to my strengths -- and maybe not hit driver on some holes."
Grubnich was also pleased with his par on No. 18. Last year, Grubnich recorded a double-bogey and quadruple-bogey in successive rounds on that hole.
"That tells me that I'm able to make improvements," he said. "I'm getting used to the limelight, and I definitely feel more comfortable out there."
Rensselaer senior golfer Bo Culp didn't mind his 6:30 a.m. local tee time.
"I get up even earlier for work," said Culp, who's worked the past four years at Heritage Creek Golf Course. "I've got to be there by 6 a.m."
Culp finished with an 82 for his only state-finals round.
"It was just great being able to (qualify)," said Culp, who picked up the game just four years ago. "The score wasn't what I wanted. I was looking more for a 76.
"It was just a dream to be here."