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BOYS GOLF: Bemidji completes season with strong showing at Section 8-3A meet

Bemidji had multiple golfers in contention for an individual appearance at state.

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Bemidji sophomore Eli Tuomala chips toward the pin on hole No. 14 during the Section 8-3A Tournament finals on Friday, June 3, 2022, at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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PARK RAPIDS – It took a while for the Bemidji High School boys golf team to have an opportunity to play outside this year.

The Lumberjacks were stuck inside for much of April, making it difficult to log course time – or even range time – and improve different aspects of their game early in the season.

So it was all the more rewarding when BHS posted a strong showing at the Section 8-3A Tournament at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids on Friday. Building on a solid start from Thursday, the Jacks finished in a tie for fourth among 11 teams at the two-day event with a composite score of 644, losing the tiebreaker with Sartell-St. Stephen to officially place fifth.

Alexandria claimed the team championship with a score of 628 and advanced to the state meet, while Brainerd (632) and Moorhead (641) rounded out the top three.

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Bemidji head coach Seth Knudson, left, chats with junior Nick Yavarow on hole No. 17 during the Section 8-3A Tournament finals on Friday, June 3, 2022, at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It's a really good learning experience for these kids,” BHS head coach Seth Knudson said. “Hopefully after the bitter taste of not finishing where they wanted to goes away, they can reflect on it and realize how good of players they are and how close they are. And then if they go work at it this summer, they can be right back here and in the mix again next year.”

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On Friday, Bemidji had multiple golfers in contention for an individual appearance at state. Nick Yavarow finished 11th in the field with a two-day total of 159 – 15 strokes over par and just two back of Alexandria’s Carver Larson, the final state qualifier.

Ryan Daman also sniffed a state berth, posting a 160 to finish three strokes off the cut line in a tie for 12th place.

“I think everyone felt pressure,” Yavarow said. “But in the end, I think our team has the talent to be right there. It's just the teams that have experience that (had the advantage today).”

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Bemidji junior Nick Yavarow tees off on hole No. 16 during the Section 8-3A Tournament finals on Friday, June 3, 2022, at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Simon Fredrickson carded a two-day 162 to place in a tie for 16th, while Carter Fish’s 166 tied for 22nd.

Rounding out the Lumberjacks’ performances, John Loch (tie for 34th) and Eli Tuomala (48th) shot a 172 and 180, respectively.

Moorhead’s Joe Kortan earned medalist honors with a two-round total of 149, including a 2-under 70 on Friday – the best round of the day and the only one that broke par.

The Jacks finished Thursday, the first day of the competition, in third place, while Daman ended the first round tied for second place on the leaderboard. Bemidji is disappointed it didn’t send any players to state this go-around, but with no seniors on this year’s squad, everybody will have the opportunity to run it back next season.

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Bemidji sophomore Carter Fish chips out of a bunker on hole No. 14 during the Section 8-3A Tournament finals on Friday, June 3, 2022, at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“We were right in there the first day,” Yavarow said. “We had a really good first day. And today wasn't that bad of a day either. (Just with) pressure shots, it's not easy when you haven't been in that position very often.”

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But now, the Lumberjacks have a wealth of knowledge to pull from as they prepare for a return next year – and to motivate them to sharpen their skills during the offseason.

“Two or three of us were right there, right on the edge of making state,” Yavarow said. “That’ll only motivate us for next year and motivate us throughout the summer this year. It'll light a little fire under us and get us going.”

Team Results

1-Alexandria 628; 2-Brainerd 632; 3-Moorhead 641; 4-Sartell-St. Stephen 644; 5-Bemidji 644; 6-Buffalo 663; 7-Detroit Lakes 664; 8-St. Cloud 366; 9-Willmar 582; 10-Becker 451; 11-Sauk Rapids-Rice 617.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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