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Eric Peterson, Published July 08 2011

'That was surreal': Anderson surprises herself with share of lead after Thursday's play at U.S. Women's Open

FARGO – Amy Anderson didn’t get overwhelmed by the moment Thursday.

An amateur competing in her first pro tournament, Anderson played like she belonged. She was tied for the lead at 2-under par with Cristie Kerr in the opening round of the U.S. Women’s Open when play was halted for the day because of area thunderstorms.

Anderson had six holes to play and Kerr had three when the sirens sounded at the Broadmoor golf course in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“I woke up this morning and it really just felt like another tournament,” said Anderson, who is from Oxbow, N.D., and plays at North Dakota State. “It wasn’t the U.S. Open to me. It was just another day at the golf course.”

Anderson said she is slated to resume her first round at 8:45 a.m. CDT today. She doesn’t expect to start her second round until Saturday morning.

Anderson was bogey free through 12 holes, including birdies on the fifth and ninth holes. Anderson was on the 13th green when play was stopped.

“I was disappointed,” she said. “I kind of had some momentum going. I was hitting fairways and greens and making some putts. I would have loved to keep going, but you can’t control the weather. I’m glad to be this far at least.”

Anderson had an average drive of 271 yards on the day. Anderson hit 8 of 9 fairways and 9 of 12 greens in regulation.

“My goal coming here was to make the cut and right now I’m in good position to do that and that’s still my goal,” Anderson said. “Whatever happens beyond that is icing on the cake.”

Anderson said she didn’t feel the pressure of playing in a major championship until moments before she teed off on the first hole.

“I wasn’t nervous at all on the range. On the putting green, I was fine. It was kind of weird. I wasn’t feeling anything,” said Anderson. “And then, I got up to the first tee and they announced my playing partner. Right as they announced it, it kind of hit me, like, ‘Whoa, this is a big deal.’ ”

The anxiety didn’t show. Anderson “piped” her first drive down the middle of the fairway.

“It really was (big) because when I was warming up on the range I actually wasn’t hitting it that great,” Anderson said. “It was just mediocre.”

Walking up the seventh hole, Anderson glanced up and saw her name on the leaderboard.

“That was surreal,” she said. “My brother (Nathan) and I joked, like ‘Well, somebody better get a picture of that. It’s not going to be up there for very long.’ ”

Anderson said having her brother as her caddy for the Open made it easier for her to focus on her game.

“He knows my game almost better than I do,” she said. “He just basically gives me the confidence of what shot to hit. I can commit to my shot.”

Seventy-two players have yet to tee off, including No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan and Paula Creamer, the defending champion.

“I’m just basically trying to enjoy this because obviously every day is not like this,” Anderson said. “I know that I’ve played well, but I also know that half the field hasn’t even teed off yet. … I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself. I’ve finished 12 holes so far.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com