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Birchmont golf: NDSU's Josh Galvin wins men’s championship

Josh Galvin knew one of his North Dakota State men’s golf teammates had to win the men’s championship at the Birchmont Golf Tournament, so he figured it might as well be him.

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Josh Galvin pumps his fist after sinking a putt at the 18th green to win the men’s championship match of the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Josh Galvin knew one of his North Dakota State men’s golf teammates had to win the men’s championship at the Birchmont Golf Tournament, so he figured it might as well be him.

Galvin, the top seed in the men’s championship field, defeated seventh-seeded Adam Van Raden 1-up with a par putt on No. 18 at the Bemidji Town and Country Club to clinch the crown on Saturday and successfully manifest the hopes and dreams of his Bison squad.

“It's sweet,” Galvin said. “I know we have a bunch of top guys here, and I just knew one of us was going to pull it off. And when it was me and Adam, I kind of knew I had to pull it off for the school.”

One of those NDSU teammates, third-seeded Nate Deziel, lost to Van Raden – a golfer from Austin Peay State – earlier in the day after a 19-hole semifinal match. Thus, Galvin knew Van Raden wouldn’t be intimidated by any Bison challenger.

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Josh Galvin chips towards the pin at hole No. 15 during the men’s championship match of the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“I know Adam’s won two playoffs against my two teammates,” Galvin said. “I wasn't trying to make it a third. So I knew I had to make that putt, bottom line.”

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Galvin sank the stroke and claimed the championship in his first year competing at the Birchmont. Even more impressively, he hadn’t played the BTCC course in several years.

RELATED: Read more Birchmont coverage here

RELATED: Bemidji’s Abbie Kelm dethrones Emily Israelson for first women’s title

“I played here one time when I was a freshman in high school,” said Galvin, a graduate of Maple Grove High. “It was kind of cold and rainy, and I think I shot in the 80s. And then the next time was here (last) Saturday, I played with my roommates. I think I'm a lot better than I used to be, that's for sure.”

He was plenty good enough to win this week, and he’s already committed to come back and defend his title in 2023.

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Adam Van Raden chips out of the bunker at hole No. 14 during the men’s championship match of the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“I'll be right here in Bemidji, Minnesota,” Galvin said.

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Galvin enjoyed his time off the course as well, which included taking in the sights on Lake Bemidji.

“It's really fun,” Galvin said. “I'd play, get to go back to a cabin, sit on the lake, enjoy time with friends. You’ve got to separate (golf and leisure), because I wasn't thinking about tomorrow's match until I woke up the next morning.”

Compartmentalization was especially essential to deal with the grind of the tournament, which requires men’s championship competitors to play six straight days – two days of qualifying, plus four of match play – not to mention the two rounds Galvin had to play on Saturday to win the title.

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Adam Van Raden reacts after missing a putt at the 18th green during the men’s championship match of the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It's easy,” Galvin joked. “No, it's definitely a grind. Six straight days of golf, they all matter. Some more than the others. But yeah, it's hard. The course is short and gettable, but it'll pinch you if you're off-line.”

The difficulty of the week gave way to a cathartic release when the ball dropped in the hole on No. 18 and Galvin knew he was a Birchmont champion.

“(It was) just all relief, honestly,” Galvin said.

Galvin's first round on Saturday was a little less tense, as he beat 13th-seeded Nick Schaefer 4-and-2 in the semifinal round to advance to the final. That set the stage for Galvin to inscribe his name in the Birchmont history books and take his place among 97 years of past champions.

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Josh Galvin tees off at hole No. 14 during the men’s championship match of the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“Kind of hard to follow up,” Galvin said. “(But) I'll be glad to try.”

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He even has his sights set on catching Emily Israelson, who won four consecutive women’s championships from 2018-21.

“Catch me in 2025, and we’ll see,” Galvin quipped.

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James Foss, left, and Brandon Nelson shake hands after Nelson won the men’s consolation championship match of the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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