Heading into the second round of the boys golf state tournament at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel on Wednesday morning, Michigan City's Nick Gushrowski knew a strong start could be the key to shooting an even lower score than the 6-over-par 78 he posted Tuesday that put him eight shots back of the co-leaders.
He didn't get it.
Gushrowski's start Wednesday included three bogeys in his first five holes, a bogey on the par-4 17th hole and five more on the front nine, including two doubles on No. 1 and 9, to cap his second state tournament experience with a 10-over 82, leaving him at 16-over for the two rounds.
"It started out a little rough with back-to-back bogeys," Gushrowski said. "I hit some pretty bad iron shots, but as the day went on, my driver got a little bit better, but my irons, I didn't really start hitting until the last couple holes."
Gushrowski's rough start of 4-over on the back nine continued with the first of two doubles in the final nine holes on the par-4 first hole. After parring the second, Gushrowski bogeyed No. 3 and 4, parred the fifth and bogeyed the par-3 sixth. He gained a stroke with a birdie on the par-4 eighth before giving back two shots to close out his round on the ninth.
"The one major thing that I changed (with my irons) came about three weeks ago," Gushrowski said. "It's still affecting my entire swing plane."
Despite the poor finish to his junior season, Gushrowski's already looking forward to one aspect of his senior year at Michigan City: getting back to Prairie View for the third time in four years.
"I would really like to get back there again," he said. "I want to actually play at the level of my game that I expect to be at."
As for being a part of the team on the course this season, Gushrowski welcomed being able to compete as a unit, something the junior right-hander noted hasn't been too common during his first three years with the Wolves.
"I thought it was really nice," he said. "Playing the matches with my teammates and actually to have a decent team this year for the sectional to practice, to get better and to actually have a chance to compete to win sectionals was something different than I've had in my first few years."
Carmel's Nick Dentino won the first playoff hole to take the individual state title, capping a double championship for the Greyhounds, who also ran away and hid in the team competition with a two-day total of 588, 17 strokes better than runner-up Center Grove for their record-setting seventh team title. Dentino birdied the 18th, the first playoff hole, while Noblesville senior Clay Merchent, who rallied late with a birdie on 18 to shoot a 4-under (68), settled for par to clinch the win for Dentino.
Penn finished tied for seventh with a team score of 634, while Duneland Athletic Conference member Crown Point finished 13th of 15 teams with a two-day score of 670.