Jeff Kolpack, Published October 19 2009
College golf: NDSU's Anderson juggles busy schedule with golf
There is studying, tests, quizzes and lectures. There is classes like applied calculus in her accounting major. But that’s the way of life these days for Anderson, who is almost two months removed from the most prolific summer by a Fargo youth girls golfer ever.
Oh, she’s still winning. She won the first three tournaments of her college career and was named The Summit League Athlete of the Month, but it’s almost as if she’s playing golf in her spare time.
Her priorities in order, she said, are faith, family and school.
Golf is No. 4.
“A lot of people look at athletes or me and say, ‘Oh, she’s completely about golf,’” Anderson said. “It’s not the way it is. Right now, academics are ahead of golf.”
Home schooled until this year, she’s wearing school colors for the first time and liking it. Not only is college new, so is having teammates to spark some momentum.
“The difference is being encouraging to your team or helping them out,” Anderson said. “Sometimes, one teammate will have a good day and the other will have a bad day and you have to understand the ones that had a bad day and still be happy for the ones that played well.”
Anderson’s bad days have been few. The Oxbow, N.D., golfer won the U.S. Junior Girls Amateur and led the first round of stroke play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In August, she not only became the first female to reach the championship flight of the Pine to Palm tournament in Detroit Lakes, she reached the semifinals before running into TCU’s Tom Hoge in a march that captured the fancy of area golf fans.
Mentally tired, she took some time off and went a week without touching a club. But as advertised when she verbally committed to the Bison almost 11 months ago, she made an immediate impact winning the Concordia Cobber Open by nine shots, beating a tough field in the Nebraska Chip-N Club Invitational and taking the Northern Arizona Mountain Shootout.
She broke the school record for lowest single round with a 69 and owns the best 54-hole score by a whopping 13 strokes.
“It’s a lot different for her,” said NDSU head coach Matt Johnson. “Her schedule is busy and I think it’s a little different to prepare for a golf tournament when she doesn’t have a full day to do it. But she’s adjusting well.”
With classes lasting until 6, finding time on the golf course is difficult. She gets to the Sports Bubble indoor practice facility when she can. The biggest problem is maintaining, or improving, on her short game.
The Bison have one more tournament this fall with the Wichita State Shocker Open in Newton, Kan. Like she did after the Pine to Palm, Anderson plans on taking a break from the game.
It probably won’t be real tough to do. It’s all about the priorities. Johnson said there’s a misconception about top players that they play golf 24-7 in college and do nothing else.
“Right now, academics is ahead of golf,” Anderson said. “I want to focus on that and understand the material so if I don’t turn pro or anything like that, I have a good career and I know I have that option.”
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Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546