Eastern Kentucky University senior golfer, Samantha Sandland, was named the Ohio Valley Conference female golfer of the week, Sept. 11 to end the fall portion of her final season. She is looking to continue her strong performances in the spring.
EKU golf coach, Mandy Moore said, “She never gives up, she always keeps fighting.”
Sandland placed second in the Redbird Invitational that was hosted by Illinois State University, Sept. 8 and 9.
“It was so surreal. There were tears of joy and happiness,” Sandland said.
Sandland shot rounds of 71, 75 and 70 for a 54-hole total of 216. Her third round score of 70 tied her career low. Her previous best finish was fifth with what was previously a career-low total of 218 at the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Championship.
The Phoenix, Arizona native finished just one shot behind individual medalist Caroline Klemp of Northern Illinois.
In the Invitational, she finished with three birdies, one stroke under par, coming in. Sandland said that her mother passed away in March, so it felt like her mom was with her during the tournament.
“Golf is so mental, you just have to keep your head up and keep fighting out there... that’s important on the golf course,” Sandland said.
Sandland has been challenged mentally with her game and wanting to be a better person but has kept her head up on the golf course.
“On the golf course, she is feisty and very competitive,” Moore said.
“Our new women’s coach, Mandy, is a blessing, she’s been like a mom to me,” Sandland said.
Moore has been a role model to her, and other coaches back home have helped push her and even her friends but her main role model is herself.
As one of two seniors on the team, Sandland is a leader on the course.
“She is one of the leaders on our team and keeps everyone going and motivated,” Moore said.
The bond that Sandland and the rest of the Colonel golf team has is one she will never forget.
“Our van rides are the most fun...our team is always laughing,” Sandland said.
Sandland said that she will be able to look back someday and remember how much fun she had with her teammates and the love there is between the team.
Sandland is from Phoenix, Arizona, a place that she calls the “golf Mecca of the country.”
“Phoenix is like the golf Mecca of the country, we have over 300 golf courses,” Sandland said.
Sandland attended Thunderbird High School where she won three state championships. She was also the fourth ranked golfer in the state of Arizona and had a scoring average of 76.1.
Sandland faced many obstacles moving from Arizona to Kentucky. Sandland describes how the weather and grass is different in Arizona compared to Kentucky. When she first came to EKU to play golf, it messed with her game so she had to adjust to the different landscape.
“My biggest motivation is myself, because I want to go pro and play in the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour,” Sandland said.
Her plans are to continue her golf career once she graduates from EKU and to see where her talent on the golf course takes her.
“The sky is the limit for golf,” Sandland said.