Boys golf

Valparaiso's Andrew Gariup keeps his poise at No. 4 spot

2012-06-10T17:00:00Z 2012-06-12T18:20:04Z Valparaiso's Andrew Gariup keeps his poise at No. 4 spotBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com

Five-putting a hole can dampen most golfer's rounds.

Valparaiso junior Andrew Gariup struggled with his short game on No. 6 at Beechwood Golf Course last Friday at the LaPorte Regional and ended up with a double-bogey 7.

Instead of bending a club around the nearest tree or throwing a tantrum, he took some advice from coach Wayne Lichtenberger and eventually parred the next hole.

"I pulled out a driver, and Coach told me to use a 3-iron," Gariup said. "That put me in better shape, and I was able to turn things around."

Gariup persevered and finished with a 77, including a two-over 38 on the back nine to help the Vikings win the regional and advance to Tuesday's opening round of the state finals.

"He's been crucial for us," Lichtenberger said. "He really showed some poise (on No. 6). A lot of kids would've been throwing their clubs. He hit it right down the middle on the next hole. He kept it together."

Gariup doesn't want to put himself in that type of situation on every hole, but said he enjoys pushing himself on the course.

In the beginning of the season, Lichtenberger told Gariup that the No. 4 spot was his, but the junior asked for a favor. Even though the position was being ceded to him, Gariup asked for playoff rounds for the spot.

"That helps me day to day," said Gariup, who won every challenge. "I needed to feel that pressure. I wanted to lock it up and feel secure."

Some challenges have taken longer to overcome.

Gariup struggled with his game at the beginning of the year. He didn't break 80 in his first four 18-hole tournaments and couldn't stay under 40 in his initial two 9-hole matches.

"I was getting ahead of myself and rushing things," Gariup said. "I started getting stronger, and hitting longer off the tee. I also started getting stronger mentally."

Gariup was nine-hole medalist at a Duneland Athletic Conference triangular against Crown Point and Merrillville with a 36, and he had a 76 at the Lake Central Invitational.

He had a 78 at the sectional, and went one stroke better last Friday. Now his sights are set on a return trip to The Legends of Indiana in Franklin. Gariup carded an 80 in his last year's opening round of the state finals.

"That definitely gives me some confidence," he said. "I've seen everything before. Our ultimate goal was to get (back) to state."

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