Maybe it’s his stone-faced demeanor, or his deep, Batman-esque voice, but a first encounter with Beecher’s Michael Barber does little in revealing his sophomore status.
And a surprisingly mature golf game doesn’t help either.
The 15-year-old Bobcats standout is fresh off of his second consecutive regional title after capturing the Class 1A Seneca Sectional on Tuesday, and is hoping to boost his fledgling golf resume with a trip to the state meet later this month.
Barber captured the regional crown after shooting a 3-over par 74 at Nettle Creek Golf Course in Seneca. The rising star outplayed his closest competitor, Illinois Lutheran’s Jared Wallace, by seven strokes.
But ask Beecher coach David Serafin if his sophomore’s strong play is still surprising, and his answer is simple.
“Not anymore,” Serafin said. “Last year, total surprise. This year, not so much.
“After seeing how hard Michael works and how seriously he takes the game, it’s easy to understand why he is improving so much.”
Barber earned his first regional win at Dwight last fall, but vastly improved on that 80-shot performance by this season. In light of his increasing success however, it’s a pressing task to get the youngster to acknowledge his impressive campaign this year.
“I’m glad I got the (regional) win again this year; that was another solid experience that will help my future golf seasons here at Beecher,” Barber said. “Our (Westminster Christian) sectional (on Monday) is going to be tough though, but our whole team has a shot of getting to state this year.”
Serafin is no stranger to Barber’s humble nature. The second-year coach praised the sophomore’s willingness to learn, and in turn teach, calling those attributes the most impressive skills of his golf game.
“If you ask the kid for 10 minutes of his time, he’ll give you an hour and a half,” Serafin said. “He wants to learn, he wants to get better, but best of all, he wants everyone else to get better too.
“The way he carries himself during practices and out on the golf course, it’s no shock that people can’t tell that it’s a 15-year-old kid dominating out there. He really just let’s his game do the talking for him.”