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College men's golf

Anderson reflects on NCAA tournaments, focus turns to summer play

FSU advanced to match play for second time in school history, fall to Pepperdine
By Zack Miller | Jun 01, 2021
Courtesy of: Holly Anderson Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team.

Scottsdale, Ariz. — The bid of Cole Anderson and his Florida State University men's golf teammates to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I title came to an end on Tuesday, June 1 at the Grayhawk Golf Club.

Anderson, a redshirt-sophomore from Camden, who won three straight Maine Class A high school individual championships (was second the other year) and is the two-time defending Maine Amateur champion, helped FSU realize tremendous success after the 'Noles were able to return to playing following year-plus-long pandemic.

It had been two months since Anderson played against competition for FSU, but despite the layoff, there was no rust which needed to be shaken off, as Anderson helped the Seminoles reach the NCAA championship tournament to vie for a national title.

After four days of stroke play, which began on Friday, May 28, the Seminoles were one of eight teams to advance to match play on Tuesday, June 1, but, ultimately, fell to Pepperdine University of Malibu, Calif. 3.5 to 1.5 to be eliminated from team title contention.

"We fell short, but we had five guys that had never played in a national championship before," said Anderson. "We lost a couple of guys [to graduation] but three of us are coming back next year. [We] learned a lot about what it takes to contend there and I think the plan is to take that knowledge that we gained from this week and come back next year with a renewed focus and sense of urgency to get back there. Not just get there, that’s never the goal, we want to win one, so that’s the plan.

"At national championships I don’t necessarily think I played bad I just didn’t score as well as I looked too. I learned a ton about myself and what I need to personally do to take my game to the next level. I knew I could compete at that level, but now it’s about getting to the point where I can start achieving at that level. That’s my main focus now, so I’m going to sit down and evaluate what’s good right now, what needs work and basically what my identity needs to be as a golfer to take it to the next step."

Anderson was part of the clinching match for Pepperdine, as Joe Highsmith made a chip-in birdie to go up one stroke on the par-3 eighth hole. Anderson made par on the same hole to end the match at 2-and-1, which clinched the match-play win for the Waves.

It was only the second time FSU had moved on to the NCAA's match-play championship format since the inception of that mode of play in 2009, with the other occurrence in 2010, when, now professional, Brooks Koepka, starred for the Seminoles, and the team reached the semifinals.

At the NCAA event, Anderson finished 16-over par — 74-74-75-73—296 — over the course of the four days, and started match play tied for 65th on the leaderboard.

Before Anderson took part in the NCAA championship, FSU competed in the NCAA regional championships on May 17-19 at the team's home course — the Seminole Legacy Golf Club — the Maine native's last competitive juices flowed March 15-16 at the Valspar Collegiate in Palm City, Fla.

The three-day tournament on the team's home fairways saw the Seminoles dominant by 17 strokes with a three-day stroke total of 830. Anderson finished tied for 14th, as he finished 4-under (68-70-74—212). The former Windjammer had the second-best par-five average (-9) in the tournament.

The regional victory propelled Anderson and the Seminoles into the NCAA championship tourney for the first time since 2017.

"Regionals was great," said Anderson. "Obviously was nice to have it at [our home course]. It was definitely an advantage for us because we play that golf course every day. We still went out and executed like we had too. We had, I think, two days where I believe everyone was even-par or better, which anytime you can do that in college golf you’re going to be in a pretty good spot."

With the season in the books for the Seminoles, Anderson turns his attention to the summer, which will be "back to a more normal summer," with plans to play in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, although the schedule is not set in stone.

"I’m going to Atlanta next week, just outside the city for the Dogwood Invitational [from June 7-12]," Anderson said. "There are a couple of weeks that are somewhat uncertain directly following that tournament. I may be up in Maine for a couple of things, and then right now I’m registered to play the Florida Amateur. There’s a qualifier that I may be playing, that could possibly change whether I play in [the Florida Amateur] or not."

Anderson also will be back to defend to his back-to-back titles in the Maine Amateur, playing out of Goose River Golf Club in Rockport, as well as the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

Anderson says he will be "spending more time at Goose" because of his relationship with Alex Plummer, the head golf pro, and caddy for Anderson at local events, such as the Maine Amateur.

"I’ll be there around a month, and for the second half of summer," Anderson said. "I’m going to base out of Maine, but I’m really going to be in and out."

Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
Cole Anderson of Camden, a member of the Florida State University men's golf team, plays in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. I championships in Arizona. (Courtesy of: Holly Anderson)
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