The sun's emergence certainly brightened Valparaiso senior Harley Dubsky's opening round at the IHSAA state golf finals.
Dubsky played a sizzling 7-under par over the final seven holes to take the individual lead with a 4-under 68 at the Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin.
Dubsky and the rest of the field dealt with rain showers for more than half of their rounds, then the climate and the UNLV recruit's game changed.
"The sun started to come out the last seven holes," said Dubsky, who's finished in the top 10 the last three years. "I couldn't run from the pressure, obviously. I just faced it head on."
Dubsky was at 3-over after back-to-back bogeys on No. 10 and 11. The good feelings started with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 12. She added a 1-footer and 5-footer on the next two holes, then the breakthrough began.
Facing the 430-yard, par-5 15th, she took advantage of the down-wind hole by getting air on her drive, so it would carry down the fairway. A pitching-wedge shot to the green rolled to just six feet below the hole.
"I hit (the second shot) just perfectly, and I got a lucky bounce," she said. "Those are the ones you want to make for yourself to give yourself a chance."
Dubsky leads after the first round for the first time in her career, holding a three-shot advantage over Hamilton Southeastern's Mary Ellen Romero.
With a win today, Dubsky would give Porter County its third consecutive state golf title, following Chesterton grad Kelly Grassel's back-to-back feat.
"It's pretty surreal," she said. "It's great to finish a round strong. I'm not going to change my game (today). This just gives me the confidence and reassures me that being aggressive is the way I play -- and it works."
Dubsky's teammates also fared well, as the Vikings are tied for sixth with defending-champion Yorktown at 333. Jennifer Gough had an 81, while Brooke Fullenkamp added an 86.
Lake Central is 10th with a 340. Returning state qualifiers Kiana Jongsma and Kylie Shoemake had matching 78s.
"They didn't have the first-tee nerves," Indians coach Chris Rossiano said. "They just hit the ground running. That's a gigantic advantage."
Rossiano expects more in the final round, saying the rest of his lineup should improve on their first state rounds.
"Obviously, we had some struggles," he said. "Hopefully, they'll come out with a much different mental attitude and approach."
Chesterton is 12th at 352. Freshman Cara Kroeger led the Trojans. She is part of an 11-way tie at 78. The fourth local golfer in that tie is Crown Point sophomore Tiffany Curtis.
"I tried to play pretty safe (Friday)," Curtis said. "I'll try to go after some pins (today) and try to keep my head above water."