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Newsome gains a golfer with parental links to PGA, LPGA

LITHIA — His mother won nine times on the LPGA Tour.

His father teaches the game as a longtime PGA instructor. The family's house is a bit of a golf museum, complete with Mom's trophies, a putting green and a net for hitting drives in the back yard.

And then there's what Tyler Bakich calls "the tons" of clubs scattered throughout — including some that date back to the 1930s.

"Yep," he said, "the ones with the wooden shafts."

One would assume the son of former pro Colleen Walker and teaching pro Ron Bakich immediately would have been drawn to golf. But that wasn't the case.

"Golf was everywhere," Tyler said. "It was too much."

He preferred to play baseball, competing on AAU teams until one day at age 11, he decided to focus on the ball that features dimples, not seams.

"I finally realized and was mature enough to think about things the right way," Tyler, now 14, said. "I was given this gift and I knew I would be better (at golf)."

The Newsome Wolves couldn't be happier that he made the switch.

Tyler, a freshman, is part of arguably the best boys golf team in Hillsborough County, one that returns three players from last year's 2A Region 4 runner-up team, including individual top 10 finishers Brian Allen and Colin Julian.

"I'd heard about (Tyler Bakich) a few years ago," coach Jim Govreau said. "And he's the real deal."

When Tyler made the switch from baseball, he had as qualified a pair of teachers at home as possible.

"My dad is always there to help me with the mechanics of my swing, and my mom is more about the mental side and with chipping and putting," he said. "It's definitely a benefit because I get double the help."

The Wolves took their first match 164-174 against Freedom. Govreau said "as of right now" Tyler is playing No. 2 behind Brian Allen at No. 1. Govreau said Tyler's strength is his uncanny short game.

"He is just deadly around the greens," Govreau said. "His putting is phenomenal, but really, he's got it all."

Govreau said the team full of upperclassmen has had no problem accepting a freshman into the fold.

"They all know each other from junior golf," he said, "and I think they are helping to push each other."

Case in point may be Brian Allen, who Govreau says is "as consistent as they come." Brian, a junior, didn't have his best summer this year, but Govreau has noticed his game getting back on track as the high school season has resumed.

"Brian told me he didn't have a great summer but I think he sees what Tyler's doing and is picking it up," Govreau said. "This is Brian's third year at No. 1 and I can always pencil him in to roll around the same numbers."

Sophomore John Michael Coultas rounds out the top four for the Wolves. Govreau said he's "still trying to figure out a few things" regarding the fifth slot.

Newsome is in one of the tougher districts in the county — a group that also features Wharton, Freedom, Plant City and Riverview — but Govreau thinks the Wolves can make another deep run into the postseason.

"We've got two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman in the top four," he said. "They have good experience from last year, and I like what the future holds for them."

Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

Newsome gains a golfer with parental links to PGA, LPGA 09/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 4:31am]
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