Before he finished his sophomore season golfing for the University of Wisconsin, Stoughton native Sam Anderson was at a crossroads.
He could either turn pro when his time with the Badgers is done, or focus on school and enter a career in communications.
“After my sophomore year, I came to the realization that after I graduate from college there is still a chance of being a professional, said Anderson, a 2017 Stoughton High School graduate who will be a junior on the Badgers men’s golf team in the fall. “I will then turn pro and we will see what happens.”
Anderson reminded many of his golfing potential when he finished tied for fourth after shooting a 5-under-par 283 at Lawsonia Links in the 118th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship, which wrapped up Thursday, July 18 in Green Lake.
Anderson birdied his final two holes to tie Brookfield’s Michael Harris for fourth. He improved on his sixth-place finish in the 2017 State Amateur.
“It gives me a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the summer and the college season in the fall,” he said.
Anderson posted 12 pars and bogeyed Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 10 in the final round.
“Leaving with those two birdies left a better taste in my mouth,” he said. “I played well all week. If I wouldn’t have finished with those two birdies, I would have been disappointed.”
Learning to golf
Anderson’s backyard in his hometown bordered the Stoughton Country Club.
His father, Thor Anderson, got him started in golf and he was hooked. His sister, Renee Anderson, is a 2019 SHS grad and former member of the Vikings girls golf team.
“I thought if I didn’t play golf growing up, something was wrong because (Stoughton Country Club) was my backyard. I grew up living on the golf course.”
Anderson had an unconventional path toward becoming a Badger.
He attended Stoughton High School for two years, then moved to Florida before his junior year and attended Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Florida so he could devote more time to his golf game.
Anderson took online classes at Stoughton while living in Florida his senior year.
He was not a member of any high school golf team and did not have any affiliation with a golf academy or training school. He spent his time going to class and playing in as many golf tournaments as he could.
Leader with Badgers
Anderson enters the fall as one of three returning golfers for the Badgers.
“We graduated two players, so I will have to step up as a leader this year,” he said.
The former Viking averaged a 75.03 in 18-hole rounds last year and played in all 11 tournaments. His best finish was a tie for 20th in the Pinetree Intercollegiate. He also tied for 61st at the Big Ten Championships.
“The biggest difference between junior golf and collegiate golf is the length,” he said of the courses.