Double the challenge

It might have been one of the most pressure-packed moments of his life, but Columbus Christian’s Nick Bridgewater came through.

Last summer, Bridgewater got a chance to play a round of golf with Cincinnati Christian University head golf coach Micah Peavley at the California Golf Course in Cincinnati.

Bridgewater helped the Crusaders win an Indiana Christian Schools Tournament championship his junior year, but this kind of pressure was different.

An athletically gifted high school student, Bridgewater never had the stage to show what he could do on a golf course. Peavley had an idea that if Bridgewater had the raw talent, he could teach him the rest.

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Even so, Bridgewater knew that if he played his usual brand of golf, what he described as “all over the place,” it might not be good enough to induce Peavley to recruit him.

Bridgewater brushed aside any pressure, played one of his best rounds of the year at 77 and had just 12 putts in his final nine holes. Peavley was impressed.

“I really don’t get any pressure, except by him,” said Bridgewater, who was laughing and pointing at his dad, Columbus Christian golf coach Ron Bridgewater.

Ron Bridgewater laughed and nodded. He has coached his son in basketball for most of his years before he entered Columbus Christian and has been the golf coach as well.

“I am not a golf coach,” said Ron Bridgewater, noting that he really doesn’t have the technical skills to do more than teach some of the fundamentals. “But if you are good enough, and you are able to get in front of the right people, they will take a chance on you.”

Peavley had seen enough to take a chance. Last Tuesday, Nick Bridgewater signed his letter of intent to play golf at Cincinnati Christian.

“I had been playing well,” Nick Bridgewater said about his golf heading into that round with Peavley. “And, yes, putting-wise, I think he was impressed.

“I’ve never had a real lesson. Now I am hoping I can make a career of it.”

Well, one step at a time for Nick Bridgewater, who will have a lot on his plate at Cincinnati Christian. Not only will he trying to develop his golfing skills, he also will receive scholarship money to play basketball at the Christian school.

“I didn’t want to give up basketball, and Cincinnati Christian’s coach (assistant Max Pendery) was interested in me. I’m just glad I was good enough to play two sports, and I am really happy with the golf offer.

“Sometimes I think it will be hard, but if it is too much, I guess I will change something.”

Ron Bridgewater is confident the Cincinnati Christian coaches will make it work. “One good thing is that both coaches are excited about Nick playing the other sport. That really is going to help. And they are in different seasons.”

Nick Bridgewater will play golf in the fall semester, basketball in the winter and then go back to golf in the spring. In the summer, he will practice both.

“I will get up at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., because I don’t like getting up early, and will go play golf. Then when I get done I will go to the gym (for basketball). Then maybe it will be back to the golf course.”

Ron Bridgewater said his son will have to start waking up earlier. “He needs to learn time management,” he said. “What’s crazy is that he probably could have played three sports. He’s got the talent to play soccer at this level.

“I’m just proud of his work ethic.”

On Aug. 12, Nick Bridgewater will move into the dorm and begin college life. However, he is going to meet with Peavley, a PGA teaching professional, as soon as possible.

“He saw the upside in Nick,” Ron Bridgewater said of Peavley. “And he is a golf coach who knows about the swing.”