La PORTE -- As Romeo Bui toted his golf bag around Briar Leaf during a practice round Tuesday, it was clear the Marquette sophomore was carrying more than clubs.
Four days removed from his scorecard mistake at the La Porte Sectional, Bui was trying to set his sights forward on today's Lake Central Regional, but the wound had clearly not healed.
"I felt completely responsible," Bui said. "We could've brought home our first trophy and I miscounted. It's my mistake. It won't happen again."
When Buie and his Knox playing partner signed off on their scorecards Friday, he was reveling in a season-best round of 89.
"I'd never shot well at Beechwood before," he said. "I had my best friend (Dan Walker) with me to lighten up the mood."
That mood took a 180 about half an hour later when, according to Blazers coach Cody Ward, the other members of the foursome, from Michigan City and La Porte, raised a question regarding Bui's score on the 18th hole.
"The whole situation was very awkward because nothing was even said," Ward said. "It was after the fact when the two other players contested it. As soon as they put that flag stick in, why weren't the other two saying something? They had that in their back pocket the whole time. We were pretty much winning the whole day. They realized what the outcome was going to be, and they pulled that card. His scorekeeper signed the scorecard, so that's what it should have been. That's how I feel."
Approached on the subject, Bui re-did his math and realized he had erred in saying it was a five rather than a six, prompting his disqualification. The adjusted scoring bumped Marquette from first to third.
"I can't honestly describe the feeling. My heart dropped," Ward said. "Rules are rules at the end of the day, but I told the kids, we're the champions, essentially. We won that. For guys to say we were cheating, that's bogus. We work harder than anybody else. That's why we're good. They're calling up other kids, confirming scores they got on certain holes, and their cards were already turned in. I told the kids people are always going to think you're extra privileged because you went to a private school. That should always make you want to work 110 times harder. That was a lesson right there."
For Bui, it was an especially hard one.
"It all comes with experience," Ward said. "That stuff happens. He'll never make that mistake again. We'll never have to worry about it again. Next time we'll know what we're fighting. We won't forget. He's obviously taking it hard. He told me he didn't want to play golf anymore. I gave them Monday off. It was too much. I lost two night's sleep over it."
An A student, Bui came to Marquette for its University program via a tuition voucher. He took up golf when he was 7, playing at Scherwood in Schererville, where he knew the former assistant pro. Bui began playing seriously at 11 at the urging of his mom.
"She just wanted me to start golfing to see if I could get a scholarship out of it," said Bui, who goes by his middle name rather than his first name (Anthony). "We don't have a lot of money, so we're trying to find ways to get a scholarship."
Bui credited his sectional round to his play on the greens.
"Putting is probably the best part of my game," he said. "I love my putting."
How will Bui respond in today's round? Ward had his concerns, given the emotional fallout of the sectional.
"It's all about how you come back," said Ward, a La Lumiere grad and the assistant pro at Briar Leaf. "I've been through what he's been through. It's easy for me to say, forget about it. It's hard for high school kids to forget about it. Regionals is a totally different level. (The sectional) was our state championship. That's the best they've played all year. It was remarkable."
Like any golfer, Bui can only look ahead to his next round. Sandy Pines was the site of his previous best round. Officially, it still is.
"I'm all right. I'm just going to play for (senior) Michael (Sakich), our No. 1 -- pretty much the whole season's for him -- try to prove City and La Porte wrong," Bui said. "Whatever the outcome is, is the outcome."