MUNDELEIN — Tyler Anderson may not be a full-time varsity golfer, but it’s only a matter of time for the Carmel sophomore.
Anderson played his first varsity tournament Sept. 11 at Big Run Golf Club in Lockport. On the first hole, a 360-yard par 4, he hit an almost perfect drive.
“It’s a 100-year-old golf course with big oaks,” Corsairs coach Jim Nolan said. “It’s a downhill dog leg [to the] right. You have to play up a shot between the trees. He bombed it, almost drove the hole.”
Anderson birdied that hole, as well as the fifth and ninth on his way to tying the school record with a nine-holescore of 33.
A lefty, Anderson can hit the ball a long way off the tee. But where he separates himself from other big hitters is from fairway to flag. And once on the green, he makes putts. At Big Run, he one-putted six holes.
Repetition is a big reason for Anderson’s short-game success. During practice sessions, he’ll often lay several balls around a hole from five feet away.
“[If you] keep practicing that, you’ll never miss a short putt,” Anderson said.
Three seasons of junior golf have given Anderson plenty of opportunities to work on his putting and build an extensive resume. This August, he carded two IJGA victories in one week. That’s another reason he approaches varsity golf with a level-headed mindset.
“I don’t really get nervous when I get called up,” Anderson said. “But if I do, I try and picture myself like I’m just playing by myself.”
The Corsairs are a seasoned group. Jack Lake and Ben Kloss are seniors, and Mike Roy is a junior. Carmel has shown individual flashes, but has struggled so far as a group. At the Ivanhoe Classic at Mundelein’s Ivanhoe Country Club Sept. 15, Anderson shot an 81 in his second varsity tournament. The second-best Carmel score was Jimmy Bagshaw’s 87, with Lake at 88. The team finished 11th place with a 350 total.
Lake said it’s essential taht the Corsairs play at least one good round together before the ESCC tournament and state series.
“Everybody has had good rounds, just not on the same day,” Lake said. “There are tournaments coming up and it’s important we play good together and know what we are capable of.”
Carmel has seen enough to know what Anderson is capable of shooting. He will be with the varsity at Saturday’s McDermand Open at Lake Bluff Golf Course. Most likely, he’ll be on the roster for the ESCC tournament Oct. 2 and regionals.
He said he hopes to someday break the school record he tied at Big Run. When he finished the round, he wasn’t aware of the milestone. After all, it was his first nine holes as a varsity player.
“I was never told,” Anderson said. “Coach Nolan did [later], after he saw my score. I was excited. I hope to go lower.”