DYER | Mike Barenie sat at Tuesday's practice at Briar Ridge Country Club calm but confident in his ability to succeed.
Despite a bad run of practices last week, the Lake Central senior golfer made up for it with his performance in Saturday's Marquette Invitational, shooting a 75 in the 18-hole tournament to finish fourth.
"I was pleased," he said. "I actually had one of the worst weeks in the past few years playing before that. I just got in a funk and wasn't feeling good about my game. I thought I played tremendous."
With scores like that 75, it's hard to fathom Barenie has only his high school career to mention for competitive golfing experience. His first competitive match came as a freshman, when he was the last golfer to make the junior varsity team.
Since then, Barenie has done nothing but take extra steps toward becoming a better golfer. He started showing flashes of greatness his sophomore year when he shot a 79 at Palmira to pace the Indians in their sectional title.
"Basically every day I can, I try to play," he said. "I just tried to get as many holes in as I could."
Now, Barenie has emerged as one of two leaders on the team with fellow senior TC Cameron. Besides the obvious leadership qualities he's been trusted with, first-year coach Chris Rossiano has recognized Barenie as one of the best golfers in Northwest Indiana.
"He's as good of a ball striker as anybody," Rossiano said. "If he gets off to a good start, and he's got his confidence, he's as good or better than anybody in the area, and he can compete at a high level. What he does really well, I think, is he has a routine he sticks with. He plays smart golf and doesn't try to hunt down birdies when they're not there."
In his last season, Barenie has high goals set for both himself and the team.
"One, I want to improve my mental game, not get so down on myself and stay positive out there," he said. "(Also), get to state, qualify hopefully as a team. If not, individually would be second best."