Golf is a sport in which progress is made incrementally.

Don’t tell that to Austin Adamec.

The Riverside-Brookfield High School senior fired a career-low 67 to win last week’s Class 3A Brother Rice Regional by four strokes. That was a huge improvement from last year, when Adamec shot a 91 at the Class 2A Montini Regional.

Adamec said last year’s regional performance, which was still good enough to qualify for sectionals, was just an off day as he averaged 82 last season. But that still doesn’t explain this year’s scintillating performance, which was five strokes better than his previous season best and 11 better than his season average.

“He’s quite a capable golfer,” RBHS coach Larry Rocco said. “Austin works hard at his game. He’s really a student of the game and he understands the aspects of it. He doesn’t make mistakes and [at regionals] he went out there and put it all together. It was a fantastic round.”

Indeed, the 67 tied Adamec for the fifth-lowest regional round in the state in any class. It tied Lyons Township High School junior Matt Walsh for second-best performance in 3A.

“I’ve practiced a lot in the summer with my putting,” Adamec said. “I really try to focus on my putting because that’s where I can pick up strokes.”

That’s exactly what Adamec did at the par-71 course at Silver Lakes in Orland Park. He made six birdies and two bogeys and took just 25 putts in the round. After making a tough up-and-down on the second hold and a bogey on the third, he birdied the seventh, eighth and ninth holes before firing a 32 on the back nine.

“That was my best putting round ever,” Adamec said. “My putter is really hot. If you have a lot of putts inside 15 feet, you know you’re going to make a couple of them.”

Adamec had only one putt longer than 20 feet thanks to his excellent short game. He averages about 250 yards off the tee but knows he can rely on his irons and wedges to get him close to the pin.

“I’m not short of weapons,” Adamec said.” Anything inside 140 yards I’m pretty confident that I don’t have to play conservatively. I can go for the pins.”

Rocco said Adamec’s mental makeup is what sets him apart from other young golfers, as his recovery from a slow start at regionals showed.

“He stays calm. He doesn’t get nervous and he doesn’t let things bother him,” Rocco said. “If he has a bad hole he forgets about it. There have been a couple of times this year were he’s started out with one or two bad holes and went on to shoot a great round.”

This was the third straight year Adamec has qualified for sectionals but his dream run in the playoffs came to end during Monday’s sectional competition. Despite not qualifying for the state meet, Adamec enjoyed an outstanding career with the Bulldogs.