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Bo Knows

June 27, 2011

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Sometimes it’s hard to keep it all straight in your head, to know if you’re on the right path, to ascertain whether you still have it, or if you’ve lost it, or if you do figure you’ve lost it to determine if you can find it again . . . if you can define “it.”

Bo knows.

Redshirting last year after contributing as a freshman to Georgia Tech’s golf team was far from easy, and while Bo Andrews was “away” he had time – too much of it, perhaps – to give space to dark thoughts, to doubt, to wonder.

Poof! That vanished last weekend when the rising redshirt sophomore won the Greystone Invitational near Birmingham. That was a big deal. If you don’t believe it, hit this (http://www.greystoneinvitational.com/) and check out Bo’s smile. When asked about doubt having crept in, Bo’s answer was not a surprise.

“For sure,” said Andrews, who fired a 69 Sunday to edge Clemson’s Grant Cagle by a stroke with a four-round total of six-under par 282. “I’ve been like that for a year and half, wondering, `Am I on the right track golf-wise?’

“All the time, I know I’m practicing hard, and doing the right things, but . . . it was a great way to prove to myself that what I’m doing is working.”

Andrews is sliding back into a groove somewhat like the one he began to forge as a freshman out of Raleigh, N.C., a rhythm he hopes continues this week when he plays in the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst (N.C.).

This is a young man who’s lived a relatively charmed life, beginning with birth on the 4th of July, 1990.

His father played professional tennis, and Andrews will tell you he’s had a ton of fun over the years bowling, kayaking, watching movies, and well, just living. His energy, his love of life is evident even in a quick phone call.

Yet for as much as he’d like to celebrate his 21st birthday – and the great American holiday – on Monday with another tournament win, Andrews is already celebrating something greater.

Sometimes perspective comes, or interrupts, life.

“Last summer, my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and we weren’t sure what was going to happen,” he said. “We went through a really, really, rough time. Mentally, you’re not 100 percent there. If I’m not going to be 100 percent focused on what I’m doing, it was a good idea to redshirt.”

Some very good came.

His older sister, Rhyne, is a student at the University of Georgia, which at this point should mean nothing to you, dear readers, other than proximity.

“She took a couple courses this spring, and I probably visited her 10 times,” Andrews said. “I hung around with her on Sundays. She’s doing pretty well.”

So some groovage is back, and so is Bo, who is quite on the go.

Like his teammates, present and former, he’s been competitive this summer. Before last week’s win in Birmingham, he played a tournament in Columbus, Ga., which teammate Seth Reeves won, and a tournament in Sacramento, Calif.

“I just went down [to Birmingham] with Seth and [Tech teammate] Anders [Albertson] and we stayed with a host family,” he said. “Anders and Seth and I made a deal to see how low we could shoot combined each day. We’re going to be a big part of the team next year, and we want to create that situation.”

Albertson finished in a tie for fourth (289) and Reeves in a tie for 14th (293). Paul Haley, J.T. Griffin and Kyle Scott graduated from Tech’s three-time ACC championship squad, yet Andrews has company waiting in the wings to fill the breaches.

Reeves returns, and redshirt golfers Andrews, Albertson and Ollie Schniederjans are back along with Minghao Wang. The Jackets figure to add a transfer, too.

Although Andrews will be the only Tech player in the North & South, Reeves, Albertson, Schniederjans, rising sophomore Richie Werenski and rising senior James White will play in the Dogwood Invitational in Druid Hills in Atlanta.

White was runner-up last weekend to 2010 U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein in the Northeast Amateur. Recently graduated Tech teammates Haley and Scott will also compete in the Dogwood.

Andrews will miss that fun while in Pinehurst, but he’s rolling with it – as is so often his way. He said that prior to last weekend he last won a tournament in the summer before his senior year of high school, or 2008.

So is it any wonder that he was so excited Monday? Much is going well, and as we spoke he was about to go bowling, and fired up about that. He’s amped, period.

“In my down time, I hang out with family and friends, go to movies. I’m a big fan of bowling,” he said. “I’m going with family and friends [Monday] night. I just love seeing those pins explode. There’s a lot of chatter and gamesmanship, too.

“Greystone was exciting, and a great way to win. It’s different in summer; in team golf, you’re playing for yourself and the [team] name on the bag, which I love. The team has gotten really close. You don’t get to pick the guys you’re with, but when they can be your best buds it works out well. We’ll stay in touch this week.”

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