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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 01 2012

Kolpack: Consistency pays off for NDSU golfer Anderson

Fargo

The tee shot at the Milburn Golf and Country Club in suburban Kansas City last fall went so far right that it threatened to leave the peripheral vision of Nathan Anderson. If it wouldn’t have hit a tree, the North Dakota State golfer would have been a couple of football fields into the rough.

That was rough.

A golf game that was so finely tuned in the early stages of his college career was showing concrete signs of going into the tank. Solid contact between the club and the ball, so basic but so important, wasn’t consistent.

“Very frustrated,” he said.

But instead of going John Daly on himself, throwing clubs, stomping off the course and cursing every four-letter word in the book, the Bison junior went back to work. He hardly missed a day at the Sports Bubble indoor practice facility. Head coach Billy Iverson thinks he may have taken Christmas and New Year’s Day off.

“His game was down in the dumps, but he never was emotionally,” Iverson said.

That attitude paid off last weekend, when Anderson won the Quintero Invitational by six shots in Peoria, Ariz. His first-round 72 was played in windy conditions that Iverson said made par more like 82. And the happiest person on earth after winning the tourney was … his sister.

While Amy Anderson was winning tournaments, qualifying for U.S. Opens, leading U.S. Opens and being named to college and amateur world teams, Nathan quietly, and without sibling jealousy, went about his business.

If a brother and sister one year apart getting along that well seems too good to be true, it’s not. It is true. Iverson calls the relationship “a storybook deal.”

“I was so blessed to have a ton of success and he hadn’t seen it so far,” Amy said. “I was happier that he won it than if I would have won it. The patience that he has shown is absolutely amazing.”

The patience was about the technicalities of his swing. Swing coach Dale Helm studied it. Nathan studied it. Amy looked at it.

“It’s not so much that I had to pick him up or anything,” Amy said. “But he would ask, ‘Do you think I’m on the right track? Obviously he and I are really close. We practice every day and he works just as hard as I do.”

The competition at the Quintero win was marginal with northern teams Creighton and Nebraska-Omaha. The moral of this story, however, is persistence.

Nathan’s rounds at that Missouri-Kansas City tournament went 80-78-83. He tied for second to last place out of 70 players. The hope is that is well in his past.

“It was nice to have some validation knowing that what I’m working on is working,” he said.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia