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ALL-AREA GOLF: For Qader, practice made perfect sense

SEE ALSO: All-Area Golf Team.


It’s been a striking two-year transformation for Sameer Qader.

And the credit goes to hard work.

“Hard work pays off,” Qader said. “That’s basically the lesson.”

The Riverbend junior is The Free Lance–Star’s golfer of the year for his stellar postseason. On a team full of top-notch golfers (five of six golfers on the first team are Bears), it was Qader who stood tallest in the conference, region and state tournaments.

He tied for second at the Conference 4 tournament and was co-medalist at the region championships. At the state tournament, where Riverbend placed second as a team (the school’s best-ever showing), Qader was third, and his second-day 69 was the best individual score in the tournament.

Not bad for a golfer who, before last year started, was having a hard time consistently breaking 80.

“I think he’s taking it a lot more serious,” Riverbend coach Josh Johnson said. “It’s not just leisurely golf. It’s serious for him now.”

Qader gives Johnson a lot of credit, for the way the coach kept the team focused and moving forward throughout the season.

He also points to teaching pro Tom Lernihan, a PGA professional who works out of Lee’s Hill.

Lernihan has had a hand in the success of many of the area’s best high school golfers. In Qader, he saw a golfer with a swing in need of a lot of help.

“His grip was almost backwards. He had a terrible weight shift,” said Lernihan, who told Qader’s mother the necessary fixes might keep her son off the 2012 team, because Qader would inevitably regress at first, before starting to improve.

“He took the principles we worked on, and he worked and worked and worked and worked.”

Part of the process, Qader said, was learning how to practice.

Before, “golf practice” meant going out and playing 18 holes. After, it meant range time. And putting-green time. And chipping time.

“I owe a lot to my dad,” Qader said. “We’d stay out on the range for four or five hours, every single day.

“My dad kept telling me it would pay off, and I just listened to him.”

Lernihan pointed out that often to improve in golf, it takes commitment from a parent, too.

“It takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication, and dedication from the parent’s side,” he said. “They’re as big a part of it as the kids are.

“Sameer worked hard, and his mom and dad were behind him. They really followed the program.”

The hard work really started to pay off during the summer, when Qader entered and played well in some of the state’s best junior events. He peaked in the high school season, especially at the end, when Riverbend hoped to chase the school’s first state golf team title.

Qader still has another season of high school golf to come, and he’s hoping for a chance to play collegiately.

As a team, the Bears are taking some hits from graduation, but Qader and sophomore Jake Miles should be back, and Riverbend could have another strong season in the works.

“It’ll be fun,” Qader said. “We’ll miss [seniors Michael Mead, Devon Oeters and Drew Mueller]. But hopefully Jake and I and the rest of the team can put in the work that needs to be done, and we’ll see who wants it the most.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045