For Sydney Anderson, it was just a matter of getting down to the basics of golf.
When the Columbus North sophomore began focusing on hitting fairways and greens, her scores improved. She went from averaging a 46 per nine holes as a freshman to a 39 for nine and 76.5 for 18 this season.
“Over the summer, I played in tournaments, and I shot in the 70s for the first time,” Anderson said. “After doing that, even the nine-hole (matches) were better. Just seeing how easy it is — fairway, green, two-putt — will get you a par if you do that every time. Knowing that, it’s not as hard as it seems.”
That’s what Anderson did Monday when she recorded 13 pars, two birdies and three bogeys in posting a career-best 73 in the Bloomington North Sectional at Cascades Golf Course. She finished one shot behind medalist Emma Fisher of Bloomington South and led the Bull Dogs to a third-place team finish and a berth in Saturday’s Evansville Memorial Regional.
“I’m very happy with it,” Anderson said. “It was very exciting. Hitting my drives in the fairways was the best part. It made the feeling even better to know that it counted toward something important.”
“She did a lot of things well, but she just didn’t make any mistakes,” North coach Scott Seavers said. “She’s so competitive that she wants to win every time she plays, and I think when the pressure’s on, she rises to the occasion.”
After playing in the No. 4 spot for North as a freshman, Anderson has played No. 1 for most of this season.
“She’s had a very solid season,” Seavers said. “She’s had great scores. Her best scores have always been her 18-hole matches, so anytime she can play in a tournament and a full round of golf, she seems to be at her best. She’s just gotten better all year long.
“She’s just ultra-competitive, and she knows how to compete,” he said. “She likes to compete. She works really hard at golf, and she’s deserving of everything she’s earned so far this year.”
Seavers and Anderson credit the improvement to a full summer regimen of golf. Anderson played most days at Otter Creek with former Bull Dog Taylor Gohn, who now plays at the University of Missouri.
Anderson said Gohn taught her, “To keep a cool mind throughout your round and if you have a double or a triple (bogey) or miss a birdie putt, to just go to the next hole and do better.”
This summer, Anderson finished second behind Gohn in the city tournament. Then early in the high school season, Anderson tied Gohn’s nine-hole school record with a 34 at Harrison Lake.
“It was really surprising because I doubled the first hole,” Anderson said. “I told myself ‘Par out and shoot 38,’ and I had a couple birdies and made the round a lot better.”
The top three teams from Saturday’s regional at Eagle Valley, plus the top five individuals not on a qualifying team, will advance to next weekend’s state finals at Legends Golf Club. North has an uphill climb to make it as a team, but if Anderson plays the way she’s been playing, she could make it as an individual.
“She’s playing very well,” Seavers said. “She got a lot of confidence, so I expect her to do well this weekend.”
“I am so confident in myself,” Anderson said. “I’ve been working so hard this season — practice every day and then practicing on my own on the weekends. I’m really prepared.”
Anderson is hoping the rest of the Bull Dogs can join her in Franklin.
“I think the team’s chances are really good,” Anderson said. “All the girls practice every weekend. We’re always out at Otter. We’re all working really hard, and I think that we’re going to do really well. I think that we’ll make it as a team.”
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