BOYS GOLF: Nick Yavarow peaking for Bemidji after weeks of hard work in final season
Nick Yavarow is a bit peeved that his senior season with the Bemidji boys golf team is coming to an end. Why? He’s playing the best golf of his career -- and bringing the Jacks along with him.
BEMIDJI – Nick Yavarow is a bit peeved that his senior season with the Bemidji High School boys golf team is coming to an end.
Why? He’s playing the best golf of his career. Yavarow shot even-par 72 at Bemidji Town and Country Club on Friday – one stroke off his career-best round of 71, achieved at Headwaters Golf Club on May 5.
Not only that, the senior captain is bringing the rest of the Lumberjacks along with him. BHS shot a team score of 319 on Friday and has exhibited signs of strong play, making its dream of advancing to state as a team a more likely scenario.
“The first few tournaments, you can't be too hard on yourself,” Yavarow said. “I mean, you can't expect to go out there and shoot par, mid-70s. It's just not likely. But this year, we've all realized that we have a lot of potential. We're a really, really good team this year. We have been in the past, but I mean, we've all been (on) the same team for the past few years. So we're all ready for (the challenge).”
“(The key is) giving them confidence when they play well, and playing a lot and practicing. I mean, guys (are) out there right now practicing (after a meet). So we’ve got a lot of dedication, and everyone has their eye on the goal.”
Bemidji head coach Seth Knudson has witnessed Yavarow’s growth in his three years captaining the program, and in his final season, Knudson has seen Yavarow step up his game and guidance even further.
“Nick has had several really good (rounds) in a row now, so he's very confident,” Knudson said. “He's hitting the ball well, and he stands on the tee thinking he's going to be around par every time he plays, which is good. … He’s been the captain since his sophomore year, and he's a great leader. I mean, he works as hard as anybody I've ever seen. And the rest of the kids follow his lead, and they work hard too, and that's part of the reason we've progressed to where we are.”
The Lumberjacks as a whole have demonstrated a string of strong finishes this season. At its first meet in Nisswa on April 26, BHS shot 319 as a team. The Jacks lowered that to 313 in Coleraine on April 28.
Bemidji’s team total rose to 333 in Maple Plain on May 1, but since then, the Lumberjacks rediscovered their groove. They surged back with a season low of 306 in Park Rapids on May 5, with Yavarow earning medalist honors and the Jacks winning the team competition.
It’s been relatively smooth sailing from there. BHS shot 319 at their home invite at BTCC on May 8, then backed it up with a 321 at an invite in St. Cloud on May 11.
Most recently, the Jacks have played multiple two-day tournaments in preparation for the multi-day Section 8-3A meet. In Detroit Lakes on May 12-13, the Lumberjacks carded a total of 619. At an invite split between BTCC and Headwaters from May 19-20, BHS posted a two-day total of 644.
“We’ve got like seven or eight teams in our section that can make the second day (of the section meet),” Yavarow said. “Everyone's battling for the second day. Anyone after the second day can win the tournament, no matter where they are. It's such a strong section and everyone's going solid.
“... Everyone’s kind of found their game (on our team). They know where they need to make up a few shots. And it helps to be outside, and seeing where you are lacking shots to go out and practice where you need to work on.”
Only the top team at the section meet advances to the statewide competition, so the Jacks will have their work cut out. But for Yavarow, a win would be a storybook ending to a prolific and influential career.
“It's fantastic (that he’s playing this well),” Knudson said. “That would be a great way for him to end his golf career and either have the team or him individually just play really well.”