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Women’s golfer balances school and academic excellence

Originally published October 8, 2010

Golf is a sport filled with rigid rules, long hours and hard work. To get that tiny ball in a hole 200 yards away, one has to seek that perfection in every aspect of their game.

Junior women’s golfer Kelly Amundrud not only seeks this perfection on the links but in the classroom.

Her 4.0 GPA shows that she’s a lot closer to perfection than most students.

“I find I make a lot of lists and plan ahead,” said Amundrud. “I do homework and study in the times when a regular student might watch TV or take a nap. I do of course watch TV but I have learned to avoid procrastination and I try to not play catch-up, which is easy to do as a student athlete missing lots of classes.”

Amundrud is also rarely playing catch up on the golf course.

Usually it’s half dozen competitors trying to catch up to her and her 76.6 stroke average.

Ever since she joined the team in 2008, her skills have been hard to miss. Starting with five consecutive rounds of play in the 70s and tied for eighth place overall in the Payne Stewart Memorial Invitation.

Not to mention being named to Bradley’s Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

No sophomore slump followed.

Amundrud shaved 2.4 strokes off her stroke average, tied for fifth at the MVC Championship and received All-Missouri Valley Conference honors. With a determination and consistency only a golfer could have, Amundrud worked to improve on her stellar start.

“I can credit my improvement to practice and experience,” Amundrud said. “The more I compete and practice the more confidant I am in my game and the great results are a bonus.”

With all the accolades that Amundrud received her sophomore year, nothing put her on the spot quite like the Worldwide Leader in Sports. She was named to the second team of ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-District.

“It was a really great feeling to be recognized by ESPN,” Amundrud said. “I work so hard to manage my time and do well in school as well as excel on the golf course that it is nice to be recognized.”

Now in her junior year, Amundrud is continuing her forward progress to improve. Once again she found herself in the top 10, finishing eighth overall at Illinois State Invitational and fifth overall at the University of Wisconsin Badger Invitational.

Her performance at the Badger Invitational garnered her a MVC Player of the Week award.

Amundrud surpassed all her honors over the past two years earlier this week. At the Butler Fall Invitational, not only did the Braves win their first tournament since 2008, but Amundrud placed first overall, shooting six strokes under her closest competitors.

After shooting an opening day 73, Amundrud shot the lowest score of the tournament the second day with a two-under-par 70.

“Yes, there is a different feeling, I definitely get in the zone,” Amundrud said. “I feel more confident which leads to playing more aggressively and ultimately more birdies and a better score.”

Earning yet another MVC Player of the Week, Amundrud has held the honor for two consecutive weeks. 

Even with all the distinctions she now has as a scholar athlete, she is not about to take her foot off the pedal now. Amundrud has already set a list for her goals this year.

“My goals for the year are to win a tournament, to have stroke average of 75, and to maintain a 4.0 GPA.” Amundrud said.

While she has the same goals for her senior year as well, there’s one goal any competitor on a team yearns for.

“As a team we have a goal of winning conference and making it to Regionals.”

With the way Amundrud has been able to cross off most of the goals on her list, one should not be surprised if the women end up doing that very soon.