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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 27 2010

Women's golf: Anderson nabs at-large NCAA invite

So calm, cool and collected on the golf course, Amy Anderson was anything but during an NCAA tournament selection teleconference Monday afternoon. Her fears, however, were calmed when she was one of nine individual at-large qualifiers named to the three-regional field.

She becomes the first Division I national tournament qualifier at NDSU and will play in the NCAA West Regional at Stanford University May 6-8.

“It was a nerve-wracking day,” Anderson said.

She finished one shot out of first place in The Summit League Championships last week, which would have given her the conference’s automatic qualifier. But the fact she won five tournaments this year and her 18-hole average of 74.0 helped her at-large resume.

Each 24-team regional will qualify eight teams and two other individuals not on the top eight teams to the NCAA national championship May 18-21 in Wilmington, N.C.

“Today is obviously a big day for Amy and a big day for our program,” said NDSU head coach Matt Johnson.

Johnson, too, admitted to nerves on Monday.

“Because things are out of your hands,” he said. “But I got a lot of support in calls from other coaches. … It’s a huge step for our program, two steps actually.”

Anderson is no stranger to national competition. She won the U.S. Junior and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur last summer.

“The more you play, the more you learn to control your nerves and learn how to react under pressure situations,” she said, “and that will benefit me.”

The freshman from Oxbow, N.D., was named The Summit League Newcomer of the Year and already holds the school record for tournament victories. She is the third NDSU golfer to qualify for a national tournament.

Nikki Danielson was selected as an individual for the 2002 Division II North Regional and Jessica Monson was a 2003 qualifier. The D-I West Regional, however, includes teams like UCLA, Arizona, Ohio State, Stanford, LSU and California.

“There are so many good players out there,” Anderson said. “Women’s programs all over the country are improving and there are so many good players you don’t know about.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546