Blair Anderson discovered at age 10 he had a knack for golf.
Playing every day, sometimes twice a day, all summer long at Pine Valley Golf Club in Prince George, he had no idea back then his love for swinging a club would eventually lead him to the plains of North Dakota.
Now part of the Minot State University team as a scholarship player, Anderson has absolutely no regrets he's taken his golfing talents south of the border.
"It's probably the best decision I ever made," said Anderson.
He wrapped up the first fall season last weekend, shooting 72-69 to help his team to a second-place finish at the nine-team Dakota Wesleyan Invitational in Mitchell, S.D.
"I was definitely happy with that," said Anderson. "The home team was trying to break school records but they didn't accomplish that, so it was pretty fair.
"This wasn't a conference tournament but we've won all three we've played so far. I was pretty satisfied, I got in the top five (on the team) in all six tournaments so I was pretty happy about that. That was definitely my goal coming in."
The Beavers head into the off-season break ranked first in the NAIA Dakota Athletic Conference.
In his first tournament round in Jamestown, N.D., Anderson tied for second with a 3-under 69, then went to Mapleton, N.D, for his first conference event and finished in a tie for third. Anderson ranks sixth overall in the DAC, with five of the top six male golfers in the conference attending Minot State.
As a team player, Anderson has had to adjust his game to not be quite so aggressive with his approach shots. His free-swinging ways led to great success in Prince George when he won two straight Junior Simon Fraser Open titles (2008 and 2009) and helped put his name on the trophy at a Senior Simon Fraser Open in 2008.
"I've learned a lot from my teammates about course management," said the soon-to-be-20-year-old Anderson. "When you play on a team like this it's not so much individual anymore. You're playing for the team so you don't take as much risk and you play it safer and smarter.
"It's all about maturity, really. I'm definitely hitting the ball straighter, and that's the main thing, getting it in play off the tee."
Anderson attended the College of New Caledonia for two years. Although CNC does not have a golf program, those four semesters counted against his college eligibility. College athletes in the U.S. are allowed 10 semesters, which made Anderson a sophomore in his first year at Minor State, eligible for six more semesters.
"I looked everywhere, and they were one of the few schools I got a letter back from and I got a good feeling right away," said Anderson, a business marketing major.
"Looking on the website of their past success it seemed like a team I wanted to join. The team is awesome, guys and girls, it's just a great group of people. The roadtrips are so much fun."
The 13-male and nine-female golf team is mostly made up of first- and second-year students. At 19, Anderson is one of the older members of the team. Seven of the guys, including Anderson, and one female team member are Canadians.
"I think we were pretty pleased with Blair," said Minot State golf coach Dwight Farrell. "We only have one senior on the team and we were kind of hoping he would step in and get the these younger kids going, and he's done a great job. He shot even par in one of his first tournaments and we were kind of kidding him because his score didn't count."
In team golf, only the top four scores out of the five golfers on each team are counted.
Minot State will finish the 2010-11 year in the NAIA, then make the switch to NCAA Division 2. The season resumes in March, with a trip to Arizona at spring break.
Aside from his family and home-cooked meals, he's not missing Prince George that much, except for hockey.
"It's shocking that hockey's not that big here, it's nothing compared to Canada," he said. "It's all baseball and football here."