WARSAW – Tyler Ostrom has not been spoiled by success.
Not in the least.
The Warsaw star golfer is content to live in the present not the past despite the title of defending state champion he carries to the course every time he competes.
“That’s in the past,” said Ostrom of his two-stroke win last June to become Warsaw’s first individual boys’ state champion. “I still have to go out and play my best each time. The past is not going to help me.
“My approach is no different this year because of what happened last year. I just block things out and go out and play my game. The big thing is that if you have fun you will be successful.”
Ostrom is a key piece to the puzzle for a loaded Tiger team, which is ranked No. 4. He tied the state record last June by firing a nine-under round of 63 in the opening day of the finals. He finished at a seven-under 137 to best Zionsville freshman Adam Wood by two strokes.
“Everyone on this team puts in the effort,” Ostrom said before a recent practice at Rozella Ford. “It’s so cool to play with the other four guys in our lineup.
“Our goal is to win State. I know that I would give up the individual title for a team one in a heartbeat. I just think it’s exciting to see what happens this season when all of us click.”
Ostrom began playing at age five on a putting green in the basement of Leon Horn, his grandfather. He entered his first tournament at six years old and is now headed to Ball State University after his senior year at WCHS.
“Golf is just a great sport,” said Ostrom. “It’s something you can play forever. I just enjoy the atmosphere.”
“Golf is a game of confidence. I think for me the big thing is that I can shake stuff off and not get rattled. It’s such a mental sport and I’m able to block out most things.”
Ben Barkey, in his 10th year guiding a Tiger program steeped in a rich tradition of success, says that success has not changed his top player.
“Tyler is just very humble and a very hard worker,” said Barkey, whose 2005 team claimed the state championship. “But, he’s not singled out in our program. He’s just one of the guys.
“I’m blessed to have 13 great kids. We have really talented players who all work very hard and are all competitive. We have four players in our lineup that are ranked nationally.”
“Our philosophy is to work hard and have fun. We want to keep focused on our goals, which means competing at a state level. That’s no different this year than in any other year.”
Ostrom and the Tigers are a work in progress right now. They shot 311 to place fourth in the 24-team Spring Preview held April 21 at the The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, site of the State Finals in June.
“My game is a work in progress,” Ostrom stated. “I started bad last year and then did not win the sectional (losing to Quentyn Carpenter of Triton who is a very good player). My focus is on my irons this season and hitting more greens. But, you can always improve everything.”
Barkey has seen his deep and talented squad which includes senior Bennett Hollar and juniors Jon Schram and Tim Ahlersmeyer paired with Ostrom in the varsity lineup have its ups and downs early on this spring.
“We’ve had good and bad moments so far this year as team,” said Barkey. “We haven’t played our best, but you don’t want that to happen in April. We still have a lot of work to do, but these matches and invitationals right now are building blocks for what we want to do.”