Timko hopes to make jump to professional level

When Boo Timko was growing up, friends called him “Tiger” after Tiger Woods, pointing to Timko’s aspirations to play professional golf someday.

Timko’s father, however, had another nickname in mind.

“My dad always called me ‘Bear,’ from Jack Nicklaus,” Timko said. “He said, ‘Jack Nicklaus is still the best player in history,’ so he wanted to call me Bear instead.”

Just like the namesake of his given nickname, Timko is chasing his dreams in Columbus as an Ohio State Buckeye. The junior from Girard has finished in the top 10 at eight tournaments, including second place at the 2013 Northwestern Spring Invitational.

Timko’s best placement came during the 2013 Big Ten Championships at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind. As a sophomore, the Canfield graduate placed fourth out of 60 golfers with a 3-over par after four rounds.

OSU golf coach Donnie Darr said this showed just how much improvement Timko has made since becoming a Buckeye.

“He was getting better as the season progressed, but he wasn’t necessarily feeling like he was getting as many of the rewards that he thought he should,” Darr said. “At the end of the year, he played some really good golf and has carried it over.”

The former John F. Kennedy Eagle certainly carried that momentum into the fall season, shown when Timko posted a new career-low round at Duke University’s Rod Myers Invitational on Oct. 12-13.

After struggling with the first of a two-round day Saturday, Timko rebounded with a 65, which beat his previous mark of 66 from his sophomore year. Timko finished the tournament 6-under par and finished in fourth, three shots off the leader.

“It was just little things here and there that I wasn’t quite scoring well,” Timko said. “I just made some adjustments and got myself together mentally for the next round, and I was able to play really solid, didn’t have any bogeys and made a couple of puts. It was a lot of fun.”

He hopes Darr can help him parlay his collegiate success into a professional career.

Timko said a big reason he chose to go to Ohio State was because of Darr’s track record at coaching future professionals. While a coach at Oklahoma State, Darr had a future PGA tour golfer Rickie Fowler under his wing.

Darr has some high expectations for Timko, naming him a captain as a junior. The Kent State graduate said he believes Timko could play professionally someday, but he has a few things to work on first.

“If he wants to play on the PGA tour like he aspires to do, he just needs to continue to improve his game from 120 yards and in,” Darr said. “I think he’s as good as any ball striker I have ever coached, and I’ve been fortunate enough to coach some great, great players.

“If he can just continue to develop his short game, continue to develop as far as course management goes, I think he has a chance to be great.”

He’ll have plenty of chances to work on his short game during the spring season, which starts on Feb. 14 at the Big Ten matchplay tournament in Sarasota Fla.

Timko said the team is excited to get out of the new indoor practice facility, the Jane and Walt Dennis Golf Performance Center, and start competing again.

“We’re really excited,” Timko said. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of good players on our team that want to work hard and do what it takes to be successful.”