Watching Donna Andrews stride confidently down the fairway, smile in place, was always a sign that she was in control of her game. She played with passion and purpose but always remembered to have fun and enjoy the game. Donna felt God had given her a great gift to share with others, and she continues to do that today as she teaches private and group lessons as the lead instructor in the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort and Lodge in Southern Pines.
As Donna takes her place in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame as the first LPGA Tour player to be inducted, following some legendary amateurs, don’t forget that she began her “career” as a successful junior golfer in Virginia. The native of Lynchburg played in her first amateur event at about age 10. With tutelage from father, Barclay, her club pro, Phil Owenby, and others, she put in many hours of hard work and practice. Donna won the Virginia State Junior Championship twice and later the Virginia Women’s State Amateur Championship for five consecutive years. In addition, she won numerous other junior and amateur tournaments.
While growing up, Donna covered all of her athletic bases: she played golf, tennis, and basketball and was on the swim team. But it was golf where she most excelled. In 1985, she received a golf scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill and played for the lively and memorable Dot Gunnells. While there, Donna claimed the prestigious title as winner of the North and South Women’s Amateur in 1988 and was runner-up the following year. In 1989, she won the Furman University Invitational and was a second-team All-America selection.
During this time, she was working with the renowned teachers Davis Love, Jr. and Jack Lumpkin, who helped guide her career as she turned pro in 1990. Donna was second in the Rookie of the Year race and posted a best finish of fifth at the Rail Charity Golf Classic. Between 1993 and 1998, she won six titles, including a major, the Nabisco Dinah Shore in 1994. Her other victories came in the PING-Cellular One LPGA Championship (1993), PING/Welch’s Championship (1994), ShopRite LPGA Classic (1994), Welch’s/Circle K Championship (1997) and the Long’s Drug Challenge (1998). She also was a member of victorious Solheim Cup teams in 1994 and 1998.
The year 2001 saw Donna cross several milestones: she carded her career-low round of 62, eclipsed the $3 million mark in career earnings, and led the LPGA Tour in driving accuracy. She later served as a member of the LPGA Executive Committee (2001-04) and as president the latter two years. In 2007, she captained the Junior Solheim Cup Team.
Donna was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and into the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame in 2017. This will be a special year, too, with her induction tonight into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, and her competing in both the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July and the Senior LPGA Championship in October.
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