FRANKLIN | Lake Central's Mike Barenie might have been dismayed with his opening round at Tuesday's IHSAA state finals, but the Indians senior said his 78 wouldn't dampen this season.
Barenie helped the Indians win the Duneland Athletic Conference meet, earned All-DAC honors, played a part in the Indians' sectional title and qualified for state — all as senior.
"I accomplished all of the goals that I had set out for my four years as a senior," Barenie said. "It's hard to be disappointed with that."
Barenie started on the Legends of Indiana's 10th hole, and blew up to 4-over-par 40 through his first nine holes.
He crawled back to 2-over for his round, but he went out of bounds with his tee shot on his 15th hole of play that led to a double-bogey. As he tried to stay in contention over the final few holes, a few putts didn't fall his way and he hit his tee shot on the final hole into the water.
The wind direction was different than Barenie's prior practice rounds, which led to indecision on some shots.
"I just didn't know how to play it," Barenie said. "Every hole was a different decision. I definitely had to put a lot of thinking into what I was doing."
Despite his inexperience, L.C. coach Chris Rossiano was pleased with the play of his senior.
"He could've shot an 86 or worse," Rossiano said. "He didn't strike the ball well today. He struggled, but he ground it out.
"I was pleased that he hung in there."
Nine-hole turnaround for Collins: One swing might have dashed Joel Collins' hopes of advancing to the final round, but his wayward tee shot on his eighth hole of play didn't stop the LaPorte senior from finishing strong his back nine.
Collins rallied for a 1-under on his back nine to finish with a 78 for his final prep round of golf.
Collins pull-hooked his tee shot on No. 17, his eighth hole of play.
"I'd never seen him do that before this season," LaPorte coach Bill Hart said of Collins. "He got in the deep heather, and it took him a little to get out.
"That one swing knocked him out of contention."
Instead of hanging his head, Collins cleaned up his game and finished strong. He only hit two greens in regulation through nine holes, and hit every green on his back nine.
"I couldn't get going early," said Collins, who will attend IUPUI with Slicers teammate Jordan Lenard this fall. "I turned things around and got the hang of it. This was a positive experience."
Time for a change?: According to Valparaiso coach Wayne Lichtenberger, the format for the golf postseason will be drastically different next year. Only five regionals will be played, and there's a possibility none of those sties will be local.
The finals will be limited to 15 teams and players, and all entrants will participate in both the opening and final round.