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Bard driving for a state title

By By MIKE LEVIN

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Spartan senior golfer Derek Bard has been making a lot of headlines this season, winning the Section III Class A title, as well as the overall Section III State Qualifier.  But with three years left of high school, he's only just scratched the surface of his potential.

Golf has been Derek's passion for a long time, and he's a natural on the course.  "When I was four, I saw my dad hitting balls in my backyard, so I just picked up a club. I don't know what happened, from then on it just sort of hit me," says the New Hartford freshman.

Spartans head coach Tom Snizek saw his potential as a sixth grader and how hard he worked to keep getting better.  "What really impresses me about Derek is his mental game. I've never seen anything like it since I've been around the game of golf. His mental prowess is incredible."

After his two big sectional victories, Derek has been practicing at the Yahnundasis, New Hartford's home course, for the state tournament at Cornell, where he finished tied for 30th in 2009.  Back then, he was more concerned with having a respectable finish, whereas this year, he wants to win.

"I've been there once, I know what to expect, I've gotten longer over the last year, I've got more game, so I'll hopefully go down and compete this year. Last year I was just sort of playing, but hopefully I'll be there in the end this year."

Coach Snizek says if Derek maintains his strong work ethic, he'll go far.   "I would not hesitate to say that Derek has what it takes to be a professional player on the PGA Tour. There's no doubt in my mind that's where he's headed."

But first, Derek is concentrating on the rest of his high school career, and after that, going to college.  "Just got to keep practicing, keep coming out here, just having a good time.  I want to play college golf down south, that would be awesome, get into a big college and go from there."

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