Age and size mean nothing compared to ability when it comes to golf.
That's why Robert Bell is making so much noise for the Pierz Pioneers boys' golf team.
Four roster spots were open on the Pioneers' team this season. Bell grabbed one and should fill it for the next five years. That's because the eighth-grader is using surgeon-like precision around the greens to lead the Pioneers to two victories and a second-place finish in three matches this year.
Bell's season-opening 1-over-par 37 sparked Pierz to a 157-181 victory over the Osakis Silverstreaks in a dual meet April 6.
Two days later, Bell fired another 37, helping Pierz to a Central Minnesota Conference win at Kimball.
April 13 saw Bell fire a 3-over-par 39, helping Pierz to second in the CMC meet at Belgrade April 13.
"He's coming out firing," said Pierz coach Leo Pohlkamp. "At first it was kind of like, 'What is coach doing putting an eighth-grader on the team?' But he lives on the golf course. His mom drops him off in the morning and then picks him up at night. He's on the course eight hours a day."
Bell played in just one tournament last year and finished with a 90 at the Annandale tournament. He knew, however, with four players graduating he could find himself on the varsity roster this season.
He knew he could compete at the varsity level, but he also knew he would have to prove to his teammates he belonged.
"I had to step up and take a role and keep up with some of the seniors on the team," said Bell. "As soon as the year started I felt left out because I'm the youngest one on the squad. It felt kind of weird. Now all the guys are being supportive of me."
Bell said he switched to his dad's driver and that's helped his distance off the tee. But Bell's strength on the golf course is his accuracy around the green.
"My chipping and putting are my bread and butter," said Bell. "It's what I always practice and that's what keeps my scores down."
Pohlkamp said Bell simply can score and it's clear Bell works on his short game. He's not long off the tee box, but once the eighth-grader reaches the 150-yard marker, Pohlkamp said Bell knows what to do with a golf club.
Playing in junior PGA programs and practicing many hours are why Bell should obtain many of his goals.
"I actually put some in my room," said Bell. "I have goals up on my wall and whenever I reach one I take it down. My first goal was to make the varsity. The second goal was to shoot low scores and help the team do really well. I also want to make all-conference as an eighth-grader."
Bell is ringing true on all those goals early in the season and he might need to set more difficult ones to achieve as the season progresses.
Other notable performances:
Baseball -- Nick Gruber, Pierz, had three hits and two stolen bases against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Joe Kahl, Pierz, struck out eight and allowed just three hits against Albany. He also went 1-for-2 with a RBI and run.
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