Jeff Kolpack, Published December 08 2013
Former Bison golfer Anderson earns LPGA Tour cardFARGO – There have been decades and decades of quality golfers in the Fargo-Moorhead area with professional aspirations. On Sunday, the tour barrier was finally broken.
Amy Anderson, of Oxbow, N.D., completed five straight days of under-par golf to claim one of 20 LPGA Tour cards handed out at the LPGA Qualifying School tournament. She shot a 3-under 69 at the LPGA International Course in Daytona Beach, Fla., to finish in fourth place.
She’ll get status on the LPGA Tour for all of 2014 starting possibly with the Australian Open in February. She’s the first area golfer male or female to get a regular top-tier tour card.
“Sometimes I just sit here and think ‘Why me?’ ” Anderson said. “I know I put a lot of work into it and at the same time I have a lot of very good friends who put the same amount of work into it. It’s a timing thing. You can’t plan for it. I just feel so blessed and humbled to get to do this.”
She was so consistent on Sunday that she missed only one green and that was by a couple of inches.
“Today was her best round,” said Matt Johnson, her former head coach at North Dakota State, who was on hand for the entire tourney. “I’m just thrilled that she got through this so early when you think she may need patience and give herself some time to accomplish it. It’s so hard to do.”
Adding to the thrill for Anderson was how she turned around subpar practice performances heading into the tournament. She dominated the Stage II tournament, winning by six shots, but the last couple weeks were a struggle, she said.
“Things were not going great,” she said. “It was one of those things where you don’t expect a lot coming into it.”
Low expectation, however, turned into rounds of 68, 69, 70, 70 and 69 in the first five-round tournament of her career.
“I would love to have five days in a row like that all the time,” she said.
The LPGA berth was also a victory of sorts for Oxbow Country Club, where Anderson spent countless hours working on her game. Head professional John Dahl often saw her practicing around the 12th green near her home very early in the morning.
“It’s one of those things that separate the champions,” Dahl said.
Some of the members helped with LPGA Tour quest by helping fund for the qualifying tournaments, Dahl said. Perhaps her proven list of playing well in national tournaments paid off again.
She won the 2009 U.S. Junior Girls Amateur, led after one round in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in ’09 and made a national TV splash when she was tied for the lead after the first day of the U.S. Women’s Open in 2011.
Dahl said at first he was surprised Anderson got her Tour card at such a young age “because most of these gals have played at real big Division I schools with some serious competition, but then I was thinking in every USGA event, she has never been afraid of the big stage. Never has been.”
That was obvious on Sunday, which is normally the most intense day of the LPGA Q-school. Johnson said it was actually a relaxing round because of the consistent nature of Anderson’s game.
When the final putt went in the hole, her reaction was one of relief more than anything, Anderson said.
“There were lots of hugs but Amy was the same she always is, just so level,” Johnson said.
The big stage begins today with an LPGA orientation event for rookie players. There is no guarantee money on any tour, so having the card for one year means she still has to earn her way.
But when it comes to area golfers, she made history on Sunday.
“Fantastic,” Dahl said. “She breezed right through it.”
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found