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Bemidji Boys Golf has plans to continue a hot start as it enters the second half of the season

A warmer than normal winter meant less snow on the ground and less snow on the ground meant more time on the golf course for the Bemidji boys golf team, who are off to a red hot start in their 2024 campaign.

“Nothing can replace outdoor exercise,” senior Nick Carlson said. “You can hit thousands of balls in the simulator and it helps. But being here and being able to see the ball fly as early as we have been able to this year is priceless.”

Last year the loggers couldn’t reach the tee box until May. This season they started in early April. But it’s not just the warm weather that’s making Bemidji so warm this spring. That’s what they did last summer.

“They probably play in 10 junior PGA tournaments,” said head coach Seth Knudson. “They all played at The Birchmont, they all played at Pine to Palm and so they’re ready for the tournament. And I think that makes a big difference in the spring.”

“It’s the many rounds we all played together,” Carlson added. “It’s the long-distance sessions, the thousands of balls we hit, the time on the putting green. I mean, that all plays a big role.”

The makeup of this year’s roster has also lent itself to Jack’s early season success.

“Obviously we lost a piece in Nick Yavarow,” senior Carter Fish admitted. “He was important to our team and obviously a very good player. And this year, our team has really been able to work together to fill that gap. So I would say the team chemistry is the best it’s ever been.”

“These guys have been playing golf together since they were six,” Knudson added. “And you know, now there’s four seniors and they’re just such good friends and it’s such a close group that they support each other. It’s fun to watch.”

And the four seniors plan to make the most of the time they have left. With a little help.

“I think it’s a bit like quoting Michael Jordan. “It’s the last dance.” It’s our last year where we can really make a statement,” said senior Ryan Daman. “And in addition to the four seniors, we have two other guys who help us at almost every meet. We score at least one every game.”

The results? Two tournament wins, two more top three finishes and one head-to-head win. However, the team still prefers to keep a low profile as they embark on the second half of the season.

“The last four years we were kind of like the younger team,” senior Eli Toumala explained. “Nobody really knows Bemidji and (we) kind of flew under the radar this year, so we’re going to try to keep going. I think we’ll just stay humble and just keep our heads down and work. That’s just the best way to do it.”

“I think over the last three seasons, putting ourselves in this position, pressure produces diamonds and we can kind of build on that,” Fish said. “It’s about getting ourselves to that place and being able to take advantage of it. And finally, you start to see the fruits, but the job is not done yet.”

The work continues with back-to-back tournaments for the Lumberjacks, starting tomorrow with the St. Cloud Country Club Boys Invitation, then continuing Friday with the Northwest Classic at Detroit CC.