By Meredith Kreigh
In the last few months, Audrey Nelson, senior, broke through challenges in her golf game and enjoyed success. But she’s aiming higher.
“Anything can happen,” she said.“It’s all words like ‘luck’ because that’s what golf is. It’s luck. Tomorrow, anything could happen—I could throw my back out.”
The Bryan golfer, 22, began the sport when her father started teaching her at age 5. Now, her aspirations—aspirations that may be within her reach—reach far beyond any school.
While her stats have been unimpressive on the collegiate level, Nelson proved herself over the summer, making a 74, her personal best, in Cleveland, Ohio. She competed alone, without the Bryan Golf Team, in the Public Links qualifier last year. The score brought her handicap down to a 3.0, which allows her to compete in the U.S. Open qualifier, for which a handicap of 4.4 or below is required.
Nelson travelled to West Orange, N.J., to compete in the Amateur Public Links tournament last August. While there, she was able to see the Golf Hall of Fame in the United States Golf Association Museum.
“I got to walk through the hall of fame in Jersey. I got to see the trophy with the names of all of these amazing golfers. I got to picture what it might be like for me one day,” Nelson said.
Nelson struggled through several health issues with her lower back, shoulder and arthritis in her hands. There have also been personal problems, as Nelson said she has had to deal with the pain of loss.
Bryan competed in the NAIA National Qualifier (Greenville, Tenn.) last Saturday, April 20. Nelson said it was difficult, in some aspects, to play when the rest of the team was so focused on this last tournament of this year’s collegiate golf season. The Bryan season is winding down while she is focusing on her summer full of golf and what her future in golf could look like.
Three days after school lets out, Nelson will drive to Atlanta to play 36 holes in a single day at the qualifier for the U.S. Open, with one tee time in the morning and another in the afternoon. If she places there, she will have the opportunity to compete for the first time in the U.S. Open, held in the second week of June.
Recently, her father has been switching out her clubs, teaching her to be adaptable. She uses new clubs practically every month.
New clubs. New tournaments. New rank? The possibilities are taking form for Nelson.