NAU Golf seeks confidence and consitency heading into season
By Tyler Childers
The 2012 Northern Arizona University (NAU) golf team finished third in the Big Sky Conference Championship, despite being a very young team, and the 2012-13 season outlook for the Jacks could to be a year of success, both individually and as a team.
The only junior from last year, Stephanie Kim, is now the only senior on the team and is looking forward to being one of the leaders out on the course after finishing eighth following 2012’s Big Sky Championships. Junior Kaitlen Parsons also returns, after posting a team-best seventh place at the championships, making her the only junior on this year’s roster and the programs only left-handed golfer.
Head coach Brad Bedortha expects good seasons out of both of his upperclassmen.
“Without a doubt, Stephanie Kim and Kaitlen Parsons have proven as of now that they are our two best players,” Bedortha said. “Stephanie is probably going to go down in our record books and hold most all of the school records.”
Kim had a rough past season battling consistency issues, but Bedortha is not worried about her game coming into this season.
“Last year, I think if you asked her, she would say it was a bit of a struggle at times,” Bedortha said. “She started playing much better at the end of the season . . . It looks like Austin Powers. She got her mojo back [although] didn’t know what I was talking about because she has never seen Austin Powers.”
This past summer, Kim won the Arizona Women’s Golf Association State Match Championship.
“It was a little bit of a confidence booster this summer,” Kim said. “I didn’t really play well last year and I was hoping to get some kind of a good performance over the summer . . . It was just fun to win again.”
Parsons is also experiencing the same concerns leading up to the beginning of the season.
“Playing to the best of my ability every tournament [is my goal],” Parsons said. “Last season I had some ups and downs. I’m hoping to just not be on such a roller coaster ride.”
Parsons and Kim both have experienced the difficulty of inconsistent play over their careers at NAU. While the team is a year older and more experienced than the previous season, it is still a young team. The current roster has one senior, one junior, four sophomores and one true freshman on its roster.
True freshman Savana Bezdicek knows that playing consistently is key to wining golf tournaments.
“I played really well on the front side [of practice],” Bezdicek said. “[I] struggled on the back [nine], so that’s just helped me deal with my struggles during the round. Working on my mental game should help a lot, and then just making sure I do all the normal stuff like stay hydrated and eat during my rounds.”
With the Oregon State Women’s Invitational quickly approaching, Bedortha feels the ladies are in a good place right now.
“Overall, I like where we are at. Obviously, it’s a whole different ball game once you tee it up in a tournament, and you go from there. But so far it’s been good. I’m very happy with it.” Bedortha said. “My biggest thing this year is I want to be competitive week in and week out. You play in bigger tournaments and you know there’s a different variable of competitiveness compared to the teams you play against, but I want us to be able to go out and shoot good scores, and feel like we can compete with the majority of the teams we are playing and the tournaments we are playing in this year, and I feel like we can do that.”