Women’s spring preview: Summit League

Nearly four years have passed since Amy Anderson began systematically blowing apart the North Dakota State women’s golf record books, but that trend has to end soon. Anderson graduated in December, and is enrolled in three graduate classes to finish out the spring. Then she’s on to the pros.

Aside from the fact that she and her fellow Bison have a very legitimate shot at claiming their first Summit League Championship in history – Oral Roberts, after winning that title for 14 consecutive years, has moved to the Southland Conference – Anderson has one more shot at another record, albeit an informal one.

The record for most NCAA victories by a single player is not formally kept by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, but Juli Inkster is believed to have the most with 17 career victories at San Jose State (that number was made up of 15 regular-season titles and two postseason titles). That means Anderson, who earned her 16th career victory in the fall at the Jackrabbit Fall Invitational would need one more win to tie Inkster. Except there’s a catch.

Two of Anderson’s career victories came at the Concordia Cobber Open (in 2009 and 2011), a Division II- and III-dominant field. Not to take away from the competition, Anderson explains, but to truly match Inkster’s record in her mind, Anderson needs three more victores in Division I fields.

“It’s not someting you can really control,” Anderson said of needing to achieve those in her five remaining starts this season (postseason could provide more opportunities). “It’s definitely something that’s motivated me in my practice and given me something to work for.”

Anderson first found out that she had to opportunity to tie Inkster’s career victory count after reading an article written about it. She guesses it was around the time she had 13 or 14 career victories. It’s not something that’s preoccupied her, though she does identify Inkster as one of the most common role models for aspiring female pros. Anderson has not yet met Inkster.

North Dakota State will start its spring season Feb. 25 at the UC Irvine Invitational. The individual winner of that event, of course, earns a sponsor exemption into the LPGA’s Kia Classic. The regular season ends at the Summit League Championship in April, but there’s a good chance that’s not where North Dakota State’s run will stop.

“It’s definitely a motivator, so every day at practice, that’s in the back of everyone’s mind,” Anderson said of the conference AQ. “We gave (Oral Roberts) a run for it last year, which was kind of a shock to everyone. We were favorited in the coach’s poll. It’s just really cool to go into conference knowing that you do have a chance to win.”

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Where it stands now

Top of the class: North Dakota State

Best player in the fall: Amy Anderson, North Dakota State

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Past champions

2008: Oral Roberts

2009: Oral Roberts

2010: Oral Roberts

2011: Oral Roberts

2012: Oral Roberts

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Conference capsules

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