BEMIDJI -- Playing in its own backyard, the Bemidji High School boys golf team carded its best round of the season on Monday. The Lumberjacks posted a team score of 330 to finish fifth at the Bemidji Invitational at Bemidji Town and Country Club.

“We’ve got a really young team,” BHS head coach Seth Knudson said. “Of our top eight kids, we have six freshmen and two sophomores, and we had four freshmen and two sophomores playing today. Our goal all year has been to get a little bit better.”

Bemidji did just that, besting its previous top score of 334 set only last Friday at Rocori where the team took sixth in the Section 8-3A Pre-Section Invite.

“We’re continuing to get a little bit better at a time each time, and that’s kind of our goal,” Knudson said. “If we can keep doing that and play well enough to be one of the six teams that’s playing day two at sections, I think that’s a win for us this year as young as we are.”

Freshman Ryan Daman registered the top score by any Lumberjack in shooting 80 to tie for 16th. Sophomore John Loch (81) tied for 18th, sophomore Nick Yavarow (84) tied for 30th and freshman Eli Tuomala (85) tied for 38th to comprise the team score. Freshmen Simon Fredrickson (87) and Nick Carlson (91) competed as individuals and finished tied for 48th and 61st, respectively.

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Bemidji sophomore Nick Yavarow tees off at hole No. 2 during the Bemidji Invitational on Monday, May 10, 2021, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji sophomore Nick Yavarow tees off at hole No. 2 during the Bemidji Invitational on Monday, May 10, 2021, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

Alexandria claimed the team title by 20 strokes over Brainerd with a score of 297.

Staples-Motley’s Beck Erholtz edged Alexandria’s Braeden Sladek by one shot for medalist honors with his winning score of 70.

To finish in the top five of a 16-team field is not too shabby for a team that was completely without varsity experience until a month ago.

“That first varsity meet this year was everybody’s first varsity meet that they’d ever played,” Knudson said. “We’re definitely inexperienced and that comes with the territory. But they’re getting better with that, playing with pressure, as they get further along with the year.

“Part of the trouble with being so young is every event they play in, except for this one of course, they’ve never played on before. Next year that will be better because they’ll have played some of these courses before.”

Even though the team is familiar with Bemidji Town and Country Club, the Lumberjacks had gone two years without a tournament on its home course due to the pandemic.

“It’s just so good to be out golfing after having the season canceled last year,” Knudson said. “It’s awesome to see 16 teams out here and the kids are doing great. They’re enjoying being part of a season in the spring.”

BHS will get right back at it on Tuesday, May 11, when the team travels to Deacon’s Lodge Golf Course in Breezy Point for a tournament hosted by Pequot Lakes.

Team Results

1-Alexandria 297; 2-Brainerd 317; 3-Sartell-St. Stephen 320; 4-Detroit Lakes 324; 5-Bemidji 330; 6-Roseau 331; 7-Fergus Falls 332; 8-Willmar 337; 9-Pequot Lakes 338; 10-Staples-Motley 339; 11-St. Cloud Tech 349; T12-Sauk Rapids-Rice 358; T12-Rocori 358; 14-Thief River Falls 366; 15-Crookston 369, 16-East Grand Forks 373.