Kyle Snyder admitted he has always had the potential to turn in low scores.
Day in and day out, the Lowell senior would consistently card 18-hole practice rounds in the 70s. The only problem was pulling it off in competition.
Snyder said his mental game during competition wasn't right. He would think too much on the course and let bad shots negatively affect him, resulting in scores that left much to be desired.
In Friday's Lake Central Sectional, Snyder was finally able to focus mentally. The end result was coming out of nowhere to shoot 74 and earn medalist honors in his first full year of varsity golf.
"It was all mental," said Snyder, whose previous 18-hole low this season was an 88 at the Rensselaer Invitational. "I stopped trying to make shots happen. I'm just letting my shot-making abilities happen. I was playing quick, too, and that helped.
"That day warming up on the range, I was hitting balls very well. I went out and parred the first two holes and knew it was gonna be a decent day."
The pressure Snyder used to feel due to a weak mental game wasn't present Friday. The increased confidence helped, as well as not knowing he was in the lead.
"I felt no pressure," he said. "I was going out trying to be the third guy (to qualify for the West Lafayette Regional). I had a par putt in the last hole to win and I had no idea."
Lowell coach John Harris has worked extensively with Snyder on his mental game, as well as simply conducting himself correctly on and off the course.
"At the beginning of the season there was no doubt he had what it took to be a good golfer," Harris said. "When we're messy off the course in our life that shows on the course.
"I developed a phrase 'do what you're supposed to do.' I said that to the team three to four times per week, and it carried over onto the course."
In previous weeks leading up to the sectional, Snyder practiced until darkness hit every night.
"It does my heart good to see somebody who worked so hard and not had the scores to be rewarded like that," Harris said.
Now, Snyder is gearing up for the West Lafayette Regional at Battleground Golf Course, where he is aiming to take his new-found confidence to new heights.
"My overall goal would be to shoot 69," he said. "I feel like that's a score I can achieve there."