Valparaiso's Mark Civanich didn't catch many breaks on Tuesday at state. But he's still in line to make a run on Wednesday.

Civanich shot a 4-over 76 at Carmel's Prairie View Golf Club, six off the lead. He sits tied for 21st among 100 golfers and just four strokes out of third. If not for a few near-misses, Civanich said he could be among the leaders.

“Ball-striking wise, I thought it went really well,” Civanich said in a phone interview. “The thing that was really just bothering me was I just couldn't get any putts to fall. I would have putts in between 20 to 40 feet — and obviously you're not gonna expect to make too many — but there were so many putts that were just all over the hole and just barely missing.”

Civanich said he could do a better job of hitting low wedges and mid-irons closer to the hole to decrease those putt lengths, but he succeeded off the tee. Vikings coach Wayne Lichtenberger said via phone that Civanich hit 12 fairways and 13 greens in regulation, both of which they were happy with.

When Civanich couldn't hit the green, he didn't get up-and-down for par. If that changes Wednesday, Lichtenberger said he can see a surge up the leaderboard.

“We talked about that: It was like, 'How can I hit that many and not score (better)?'” Lichtenberger said. “He played great.”

Although the primary concern remains hitting fairways and greens consistently, Civanich acknowledged that his spot on the leaderboard could enter into his mind. He's expecting easier pin locations Wednesday, which could open up chances to drop strokes.

“I'm gonna be able to be pin-seeking more and more aggressive with the approach shots,” Civanich said. “It all just comes down to the putter then.”

'Tough day' for Crown Point

Crown Point entered state after winning sectionals and placing second at regionals. Tough course conditions and an uncharacteristically wild day tripped up the Bulldogs in their first team state appearance since 2000.

C.P., the Region's only team advancing to state, shot a 49-over 337 that placed them 14th of 15 teams. Typically, the Bulldogs have set their goal at 320.

“Definitely nerves played a big part,” senior No. 1 Connor Proudman said in a phone interview. “At least personally, I wasn't getting up-and-down for par too much. It was a tough day.”

Easier pin positions on Wednesday could give the Bulldogs a chance to move up with aggressive play, and things likely can't get much worse. Proudman said he felt it was C.P.'s worst round all season.

While the Bulldogs got a practice round on the course Monday, C.P. coach Ryan Bishop said via phone that conditions changed by Tuesday. After the Bulldogs experienced soaking-wet fairways and greens Monday, groundskeepers cut the greens twice and placed fans around the course to dry it out. Now, Crown Point has real, applicable experience on the course.

“We only had two kids that were playing the course for the second or third time,” Bishop said. “The practice round really didn't help them, because the conditions were completely different.”

Bishop said he'd like to see the Bulldogs break into the top 10, which they're 13 strokes off of. Regardless, Proudman and fellow senior Bryant Callander are keeping things in perspective.

“Our goal was to get here,” Callander said in a phone interview. “We'd like to just go play well. I think that the rest of the guys besides Connor and I will be back here next year, so I already told them, 'This is just the first time; you'll get the jitters out of the way. You'll be here again.'”

City's Gushrowski in solid position

Michigan City's Nick Gushrowski had a rough start featuring a bogey and double-bogey his first two holes. He responded by shooting 1-over-par on his next 15.

Gushrowski stands tied for 33rd with a 78. Aside from his start and a double bogey on his final hole, he was happy with his performance.

“Mostly, I played very well,” Gushrowski said in a phone interview. “It was just, for the first two holes, hard to learn where I was hitting the ball to know how to play for it.”

The 78 represented a major improvement over Gushrowski's first-round 87 at state last year, and coach Jeff Edinger said via phone that it opens up new possibilities. Edinger said the goal is to crack the top 25, and that should be feasible if Gushrowski continues his strong play off the tee.

“He really, really righted the ship,” Edinger said. “He hit his driver really well today, as well as he probably has all year. There's not a lot of room for error on this golf course.”

Edinger said he and Gushrowski are aiming for a 75 or lower on Wednesday, which would assure a much better finish than Gushrowski's 58th-place showing in 2018. If Gushrowski does shoot a low number, however, it won't necessarily come from constantly attacking pins.

“It's gonna depend a little bit on how I'm hitting on the range, where the pins are, on how aggressive I get (Wednesday),” Gushrowski said.


Robbie Weinstein covers Porter County prep sports and Valparaiso University athletics for The Times. You can find the Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University grad posted up on the nearest field of play or in front of the TV.