Chesterton senior Mike Marshall didn't instantly become proficient at golf, but his rise to regional qualifier this season is somewhat meteoric.
Marshall started to play just two years ago, and now he's a part of Friday's LaPorte Regional at Beechwood.
"It's an extreme shock to me," said Marshall, who carded a 78 at the Valparaiso Sectional. "It's the best feeling in the world."
Marshall ran cross country and track throughout middle school and as a freshman.
"I was pretty much a running fiend back then," Marshall said. "I just didn't want to do track (as a sophomore), so I thought I would try golf. I saw my mom (Janet) play it."
Before the high school tryouts, Marshall received some lessons from local golf instructor Mat Blair.
"I told him that I had three weeks to get my swing down," Marshall said. "He told me about keeping my head down on my swing.
"I still made the team by the skin of my teeth."
Marshall didn't dent the varsity scoring lineup last season. Graduation losses gave the senior one final chance at a starting spot.
He played the No. 1 spot on May 5 in a Duneland Athletic Conference match against Michigan City at Municipal Golf Course and carded a team-low 37.
"I found out that I had the capability to do this," he said. "That increased my confidence."
From then on, Marshall has continued to improve, saving his best shots for his game rounds.
"He's just a consistent player; he doesn't hit a big draw or fade," Chesterton first-year coach Kent Butler said of Marshall. "He's always pretty much on plane (with his shot), and he's got a solid short game.
"He's also a competitor. You might see him before the match, and it looks like he might not be hitting it too well. When the game's on the line, he's there for the big shots."
Marshall took a giant step at the DAC Invitational at The Brassie on May 23, placing third at the event with a lifetime-best 76.
"Last year, me and my parents began to realize that I was pretty decent, so we became members at The Brassie," Marshall said. "I know it extremely well. It's almost like I can play it with my eyes closed."
Marshall believes his growing confidence is the key to his game.
"You mostly hear from pros that golf is 80 percent short game and 20 percent off the tee," Marshall said. "I think it's 20 percent off the tee and in the short game, but the rest is all mental."
And all of this has been an enjoyable ride for the senior.
"I'm almost at a loss for words about doing this," Marshall said. "It seems like the whole community is supporting me and that touches my heart."