April 11, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Practice is supposed to make perfect.
Georgia Tech redshirt junior Bo Andrews, who has certainly put in his share of practice time, wasn’t perfect on Tuesday afternoon, but his six-under 66 in the final round of the Gary Koch Invitational in Tampa, Florida, was good enough to earn a share of the championship and his first collegiate victory.
He wasn’t about to quibble with the results. In fact, if there was any issue it was in the results taking so long to catch up with his play.
“I’ve been playing well and played well the rounds before. I just haven’t had the scores to show it,” said the Raleigh, N.C., native, who matched his career-best round on Tuesday. “You just pretty much do all you can with what you know and when you finish, you just add it up and see what it got you. Whether you’re disappointed or not is where you put your expectations.”
Andrews puts his up pretty high. Georgia Tech Golf Coach Bruce Heppler realized just how high following Bo’s round on Monday.
“He was six-under through eight in the second round and ended up shooting 70. He walked off and was really upset with himself and frustrated and sent e-mails like, ‘I know I can do this,'” Heppler said. “The next day, he comes out and shoots 66 and wins. He’s a great young man and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He excels in golf and life and the classroom. He’s certainly been a wonderful person to have in the program and so when good things happen to good people, it’s obviously exciting.”
Andrews, who made up five shots on the final day to tie Florida State’s Rowin Caron, who shot a final-round 71, was excited about the fact that he was able to play with the kind of consistency that for whatever reason had been so elusive. He called it the kind of consistency reminiscent of teammates Anders Albertson and Ollie Schniederjans.
“I think Anders and Ollie do a great job,” said Andrews. “I told Anders, ‘Now I’ve got a good feeling of what it feels like to play like you every week.’
“They put in everything they’ve got each week to practice and in the tournaments and it’s shown with the results,” he added. “That’s what we love doing. We love giving it our all each week. That’s the joy we get because you get to go there and do what you love and put a ton of effort into it. That’s what makes it great.”
Great describes the feeling Andrews has about his game going forward following his first below-par tournament of the season, especially since he hadn’t made the travel squad in any of the March events.
Heppler hopes that the Koch Invitational win will keep Andrews on the right road for success.
“Sometimes in golf it’s funny what happens when you win,” he said. “Some guys feel like now there’s pressure to do that every time and they don’t react well. Some guys just go, ‘You know what? That really wasn’t that hard. I’ve been trying to be perfect all of these years thinking I had to be perfect to win.’ Obviously he knows he made mistakes, didn’t hit all perfect shots throughout the 54 holes but it turned out well in the end. What you hope is that he just kind of calms down and settles in and feels good about what he’s doing. You hope there’s a jump forward in confidence and realize you don’t have to be perfect, relax a little bit and just keep believing in the way you do stuff.”
The latter appears to be the road Andrews has chosen.
“[The win] just gives me more confidence in how I’m practicing and that I’m doing all the right things,” he said. “My game’s felt great. I just didn’t have the scores to show it. That gives me even more confidence that the work I’m doing is right and what I’m practicing in each part of the game is helping me improve every day. I’ll just keep doing that and if I do that it will allow me to get better and help make the team better.”
The Jackets take to the links for dual matches each of the next two weekends, meeting South Carolina this Saturday at East Lake Golf Course, and TCU the Saturday after at Capital City Club-Crabapple in Marietta, leading into ACC Tournament play and another look at Caron and Florida State, which won in Tampa.
“Obviously, they’ve got a good team and they’re a lot like us, trying to figure out who their five guys are,” said Heppler. “I’m guessing it probably will be the five that we saw on Tuesday. But, still, at the end of the day, the message has to be you play the golf course. It’s five guys going and trying to play Old North State Club the best they can for three days.
“There are some good teams in the Conference and so for our guys to maybe give a message that there’s going to be some work involved for the next couple of weeks would be good,” he added. “We’ve never really tried to focus on the opponent because in golf it really is the golf course and yourself.”
Putting in more work works for Andrews as he looks to build on the Koch Invitational victory and keep the results mirroring his game.
“It’s more just getting a good practice schedule down exactly of how I can improve each day, little by little on certain things,” he said. “Whether it’s short game on Monday, 30- to 50-yard pitch shots on Tuesday. If you practice that for 2 1/2 hours once or twice a week for four weeks you’re going to get better.
“Anybody on this team can have success,” he added. “Everybody works extremely hard. It’s just a matter of time and results that somebody can step in there and help the team like I did. You can’t really judge that or plan for it. You’re just going to have to work and practice and be thankful for opportunities that you’re given and then just try to take advantage of every opportunity that you are given.”