Blumenherst excels on and off golf course

Success seems to come easily for Amanda Blumenherst.

The sophomore is the rare type of person who is good at it all. She's at the top of her game on the course, a straight-A student in the classroom and all the while maintains a disarming smile that makes it hard not to like her.

"She's a poster child for good perspective, good attitude, being positive," head coach Dan Brooks said. "Once she decides it's time to get ready for something and starts to prepare and does her work for it, she's someone who knocks it out."

A summary of her first year at Duke reads like a laundry list of accomplishments.

She won the first college tournament she entered. She set a Duke record with 24 rounds of even or under par, smashing the previous record by five. She won the ACC individual title by seven strokes. She had the second-lowest stroke average in Duke's storied history. She won multiple National Player of the Year awards.

She also helped the women's golf program win its fourth NCAA championship.

"You know, I've been playing well recently," Blumenherst said humbly.

And she hasn't slowed since the season ended in May.

When the 19-year old teed off with the world's best at the U.S. Women's Open in early July, she finished in a tie for 10th place, sharing the distinguished title of low amateur with UCLA's Jane Park.

"I definitely had the first-tee butterflies," Blumenherst said. "I really wasn't sure how I was going to finish, so top 10 was definitely exciting."

With her recent success in professional events and her dominance at the collegiate level-she finished in the top 10 in each of Duke's 11 tournaments this season-some have questioned whether Blumenherst will follow in the footsteps of former Blue Devil Brittany Lang, who left Duke after her sophomore season to join the LPGA full-time.

Blumenherst, however, insists she's staying at Duke for the long haul.

"Really since I was 14 [years old], I always planned on playing college golf for four years and then going professional," she said. "I always tell coach he's stuck with me for three more years."

And Blumenherst seems intent on making the most of her time at Duke--she currently carries a 3.87 grade point average.

"In her fist semester she was a 4.0 student at Duke and I told coach Brooks, you know, 'Make sure she behaves,'" said Dave Blumenherst, her father.

Fueled by that intense work ethic and a supportive family that has stressed academics--homework always came first, her father said--Amanda Blumenherst is well on her way to defining a student--athlete as truly equal parts student and athlete.

"She'll go from class to practice and then back to the dorms to study--that's what it is everyday," teammate and fellow sophomore Jennie Lee said. "She works really hard at everything she does."

Her hard work on and off the course paid off at the National Golf Coaches Association banquet, where she took home five awards. At the ceremony, she became the first Blue Devil in history to claim the Edith Cummings Munson Golf Award, which is given to the All-American with the highest grade point average in Division I women's golf.

"That's another reason that Amanda is in for the four-year plan," Dave Blumenherst said. "It's the fact that Amanda's not a C student, she's not a B student, you know you can tell she's an A student. She's got that kind of mind set and when you're that type of student you don't go for one year."

And so, armed with a golf bag, a backpack and a competitive streak, Blumenherst will continue on the path that she has had set since she was 14-to finish college before taking her talents to the LPGA.

"She's having a lot of fun at Duke and that's what a lot of parents have to realize, the money's always going to be out there," Dave Blumenherst said. "Right now this is a very important part of her life and she'd be missing out on a lot if she wasn't at Duke right now."


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