CARMEL — All spring, Valparaiso's Mark Civanich outdrove nearly every Region golfer.
This week's state finals at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel was a different story.
“The kids I was playing with, I was surprised,” Civanich said. “I always think I'm one of the longest (off the tee) out there, at least from Northwest Indiana, and I'm getting outdriven by 30 yards by some of these kids. And then their finesse game is just a touch better than mine.”
The tall, lanky junior finished tied for 21st with a 9-over-par 153 total. He shot the lowest of the Region's seven participants. Still, Civanich's first state experience showed him how much better he can get.
On Tuesday, Civanich's long putts barely missed. On Wednesday, impossible lies in the sand and rough did him in. After a 1-over front nine, Civanich missed some fairways and greens on the back to card a 5-over second round.
Even while getting outdriven, Civanich still had enough length with his irons to be in good position. Coach Wayne Lichtenberger said adding distance with the driver would help, but Civanich's already-strong short game will need additional work.
“He just paid the price today for missing greens,” Lichtenberger said. “If I had to look at the two days, he just didn't hit as many greens today and that cost him a bit.”
The potential was there for a better finish. That leaves Civanich energized as he approaches a big offseason that will include a couple of tournaments this summer.
“After this, I'm extremely pumped for next year, because now I know what's the golf course all about,” Civanich said. “Now, I'm ready to just go out there and kick some butt.”
Gushrowski improves despite rough second round
A half-smile crossed Nick Gushrowski's face as he thought of the months ahead.
After a first-round 78, the Michigan City junior took a step back with an 82 on Wednesday to tie for 49th. Gushrowski's 160 represented a four-stroke improvement from a year ago, but his disappointing second round provides plenty of motivation. Gushrowski knows what he must fix if he advances to state next year.
“This course isn't that tough, granted if you can keep the ball in play,” Gushrowski said. “That's why I shot so badly, because I didn't keep it in play.”
Coach Jeff Edinger said Gushrowski looked good at the range Wednesday morning, but that didn't translate once his round started. Inconsistency on drives put Gushrowski farther from the green, which in turn forced him into using mid-irons and hybrids on his approach shots.
As a result, Gushrowski had a harder time hitting greens.
“I know he was hoping for so much more,” Edinger said. “He held it together, and I'm proud of him.”
Gushrowski's preparation starts Monday, when he heads to Fort Wayne for the Indiana Junior Golf Boys State Qualifier at Chestnut Hills. After that, he'll play in two tourneys this summer and perhaps another two in the fall.
While Gushrowski said it's hard to pinpoint specific areas of improvement from watching other golfers at state, Edinger feels the tournament could lead to a productive offseason.
“It kind of keeps you in check a little bit,” Edinger said. “Up north, Mark and Nick, they're two of the best up there. You come down here, and everyone's at that caliber. So it just kind of gives you a little bit of a wake-up call, and hopefully it makes them work a little bit harder.”