Adam Beatty of Naples had just recorded one of only two 1-under-par 71 rounds Thursday in the second round of the 22nd Nolan Henke-Patty Berg Junior Masters at Cypress Lake Country Club.
"My coach, Tom O'Brien, told me what to think," said Beatty, 15. "I was way more relaxed. He said to take one shot at a time."
Beatty had shot an 89 in Wednesday's first round and improved upon that by 18 strokes in the second to stand at 160, 13 strokes behind the boys' 13-15 division leader.
Another player improved even more than that on the second day. Peyton Staas went from a 108 in the first round to an 80 on Thursday, 28 strokes better.
These two, along with several who talked about their games afterwards, illustrate just how much of a mental game golf really is. Player after player testified to their need of staying mentally tough for the entire three rounds.
In the boys' 16-18 division, Landon Weber of Fort Myers had a share of the lead after the first round 72 and shot 1-over 73 Thursday. Weber continues to lead the field with a two-round total of 145. First round co-leader, Martin Jensen, fell four strokes off the lead after a 77 for a 149 total.
"The first two holes were my downfall." Jensen said. "I had two double-bogeys right away, and then I missed a short birdie that didn't help."
The same threesome that played together Thursday will be together for the final round on Friday. Weber and Martin are joined again by Cole Conner, who shot a 78 for a two-day total of 151 for third place six off the lead.
Christopher Spoone carded back-to-back rounds of 80 and continues to be the lowest 16-18 year-old player from Cape Coral. Cape's Ross Lally stands at 161
Cape Coral's Brittany Shin shot 77 Thursday, falling three strokes behind Sydney Shrader, who was the other player to shoot 71 Thursday. Shrader has a two-day total of 147 with Shin at 150 and Hallianne Hobson third at 155.
Shrader plays basketball and golf at St. John Neumann in Naples. She wears a knee brace while playing this week since she suffered an ACL injury last fall. Surgery on the knee was done in late November. She hopes to return to the court this winter.
Shin was disappointed with her game on Thursday.
"She missed a lot of short putts today." said father Jack Shin watching Brittany work on the putting green following her round. "She forgot what we've been teaching her."
"Of course I got frustrated," Brittany said, "but there's always tomorrow. It's all a mental challenge. That's just the way the game of golf is."
Blake Wheeler and Mark Iwinski, Jr. both shot 75s in the boys' 13-15 division Thursday. Wheeler (72-75-147) still leads Iwinski (75-75-150) by three strokes.
Wheeler is playing in the Henke-Berg tournament for the second year.
Describing his game, he says, "It's gotten a lot better. I've improved my entire game, added yardage on the driver, and my irons are more solid."
The lowest 13-15 year-old Cape Coral resident continues to be Alec DiLallo with scores of 80-81-161.
The Henke-Berg has one international player this year. Mike Saxon is a 12-year-old from Skappel, Switzerland. His family comes to Florida for three months in the winter, and one month in the summer. He shot 81-81-162 over the first two days. He says there is one big difference between Florida and Switzerland.
"It's hotter here, and the courses are longer and the greens higher," Saxon said.
Saxon just arrived from Switzerland where he won the Swiss national championship for players 12-and-under for the second year in a row.
There's always opportunity for celebration. After his 71, Beatty was on the phone with his mother telling her what he'd done.
"Mom said we can go out for sushi tonight," Beatty said of his favorite food.
The tournament concludes on Friday.
Friday's final round pairings with 36-hole scores:
at Cypress Lake Country Club
No. 1 Tee
7:40 a.m. - Hendrik Damen 93-95-178; Richard Maly 96-110-206
7:50 - Mason Kiernan 82-81-163; Harrison Kyule 83-84-167
8:00 - Luke Farmer 80-82-162; Mike Saxer 81-81-162; George Wood 82-80-162
8:10 - Keith Messery 82-78-160; Alec DiLallo 80-81-161; Dat Phan 82-79-161
8:20 - Shane Reynolds 81-77-158; Sam Hershoff 81-78-159; Adam Beatty 89-71-160
8:30 - Jereme Saunders 89-87-176; Chad Bowling 84-94-178; Jarred Moses 99-88-187
8:40 - Garrett Lee 80-83-163; Chris Garbo 84-80-164; Garrett Fernandez 85-81-166
8:50 - Christopher Spoone 80-80-160; Ross Lally 82-79-161; Michael Chesnover 82-80-162
9:00 - Eric Grimes 77-78-155; Grant Taleck 78-79-157; Sean Mazzola 83-77-160
No. 10 Tee
7:40 a.m. -?Peyton Staas 108-80-188; T.J. Thompson 98-96-194
7:50 - Alexandra Tomodan 94-100-194; Kelli Kragh 103-109-212
8:00 - Kim Egozi 88-82-170; Emma Persinger 88-89-177
8:10 - Emily Black 78-85-163; Anna-Marie Kuenzle 82-81-163; Kelly Newbrough 87-82-169
8:20 - Sydney Shrader 76-71-147; Brittany Shin 73-77-150; Hallianne Hobson 77-78-155
8:30 - Peter George 81-75-156; Michael Drasba 80-77-157; Alex Hussey 82-76-158
8:40 - Blake Wheeler 72-75-147; Mark Iwinski, Jr. 75-75-150; Christian Taylor 79-73-152
8:50 - Tate Smith 78-75-153; Daniel Gonzalez-Quevedo 78-76-154; Ryan Frost 78-77-155
9:00 - Landon Weber 72-73-145; Martin Jensen 72-77-149; Cole Connor 73-78-151