Anderson finding success, happiness at NDSU
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Amy Anderson looked out of place in Donald Trump’s opulent clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. The humble home-schooler talked about life in frigid Oxbow, N.D., with great affection. She’d just earned medalist honors at the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior and introduced herself to those outside of the Fargo area. By week’s end, she’d won it all.
Two years later, Anderson has won 10 college titles at North Dakota State and established herself as one of the nation’s top players. She qualified for this year’s NCAA Championship and tied for 12th. Two days later, she won the U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier at Medina, Minn.
That triumph at Trump National was no fluke.
“I feel really blessed just to have the opportunity that I have,” said Anderson, moments after wrapping up her first NCAA Championship appearance. She played in Bryan, Texas, as an individual. Anderson averaged 73.1 strokes per round as a sophomore on a team with a next-best stroke average of 82.3.
Anderson, 18, won’t be transferring to a warmer, more high-profile setting to finish her college eligibility, though she would have support from an unlikely source: NDSU’s athletics department. Bison coach Matt Johnson spoke with his athletic director about that scenario and said that both agreed they’d fully support Anderson’s decision to go elsewhere, should that day come.
But the fact remains that Anderson enjoys putting her clubs away in late October and not touching them again until Jan. 1. Of course, not having a short-game facility during the winter means she arrives rusty to her first few events of the spring. This year, North Dakota State never had the chance to practice outdoors, with poor weather prevailing all the way through the Summit League Championship in April.
“The routine seems to work for her,” Johnson said, “and probably wouldn’t for most players.”
Johnson said his star player “partakes in just about anything she can do” on campus. She’s the type of kid who will never get into trouble. Her head rests so squarely on her slender frame that golf doesn’t even make the top three of her priority list: Faith, family, academics and golf.
Anderson won the NCAA Elite 88 Award for being the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA at this year’s NCAA Championship. The 4.0 student is majoring in accounting, with a minor in fraud investigation.
Accurate ball-striking is the hallmark of Anderson’s game. She’s considering turning professional in two years, if her game seems ready. She relies heavily on older brother Nathan, a sophomore on the men’s team at NDSU who knows her swing well.
Johnson said what will most help Anderson in preparing for the future is competing on tracks as difficult as A&M’s Traditions Golf Club. The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., site of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, will be a solid test.
Anderson and Johnson arrived at North Dakota State at the same time. The new coach worried that his USGA champ wouldn’t mix well with a crop of players who struggled to break 80, sometimes 90. That wasn’t the case. Anderson never acted as if she were better than her teammates and pulled the group together.
When NDSU stepped up to Division I athletics in 2004, Johnson said the women’s golf team averaged 360 strokes per round. Anderson helped drop that number significantly. On the strength of Anderson’s final-round 70 for a 219 total in winning the Summit League Championship, North Dakota State shot a school-record 302 on the final day to finish fourth.
“It’s unbelievable what she’s meant to us,” Johnson said.
As well as what she could mean to NDSU’s future.