Q&A with Sofie Andersson

May 17, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif. - Sofie Andersson, who is ranked No. 23 nationally, is one of two seniors who look to lead the 11th-ranked California women's golf team at the NCAA Championships May 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio. Andersson, who competed at Mississippi State as a freshman, leads the Golden Bears with a season stroke average of 73.8 and owns a Cal career average of 74.3. Sarah Huarte, the 2004 NCAA champion, holds Cal's season (73.8) and career stroke records (75.1).

Andersson, a 2006 second-team All-Pac-10 selection, looks to become Cal's first three-time All-American this season. The product of Angelholm, Sweden, sat down with CalBears.com to discuss the NCAA Championships, her career at Cal and her interests.

CalBears.com: What's the mood of the team heading into the NCAA Championships?

Andersson: 'We are really excited! We have had a good spring and finished third at regionals, so we have lots of success to build on. Three of us have played at the NCAA finals before so we have enough experience to share with the freshmen.'

CalBears.com: As a senior, how have you helped prepare freshmen Allison Goodman and Shannon Yocum for the added intensity of nationals?

Andersson: 'Well. They are great freshmen and very good players. What I feel I can contribute as far as preparation would be just to let them know what they have to expect - media attention, pressure and tension from other schools and teams. I believe that you have to face the tournament as 'just another tournament,' try to tone it down a little and enjoy the time. That's when I believe the good scores will come.'

CalBears.com: How did the team feel about its third-place finish at the NCAA East Regional?

Andersson: 'I know, some parts were frustrating. But like Coach (Nancy McDaniel) has said, we had a solid tournament with three consistent good rounds and good play. We created and gained confidence, and we learned a lot on how we as a team best prepare for competition as far as course management goes. There will always be those putts that you would have wanted to drop. But every team has that, right?'

CalBears.com: Are you personally peeking at the right time for nationals?

Andersson: 'We will see.'

CalBears.com: What do you know about the Scarlet Course where NCAAs are being held?

Andersson: 'I don't know much about the course. I have checked out the course Web site a few times, looked at the pictures of the holes and tried to get familiar with the course. I know that it is newly remodeled, and no team has played the new course. It will be good for everyone to have all new fresh impressions.'

CalBears.com: Did you play other sports growing up?

Andersson: 'I played table tennis. I always followed what my brother (Patrik) did. He played soccer. I tried soccer. I was hit in the head with a soccer ball, and I wouldn't play anymore. I went horseback riding for awhile. I was pretty good at table tennis, but then I picked up golf and quit (playing table tennis). I was competing (in table tennis) in the Southern division of Sweden against guys because there were no girls who played.'

CalBears.com: What other interests do you have?

Andersson: 'I love to cook and to bake. I go crazy in the kitchen. It's my way to relax. If I'm bored, or if I've studied too much, I go and bake a cake or some cookies. It's kind of funny. I make everything at home, pretty much. I bake my own bread. I cook my dinner. I make my lunch. I bake cakes. It depends on how much time I have. If I'm busy, it's a pasta with tuna and tomato sauce. If I'm having friends over, I love fish. I like salmon, or I make chicken or a soup. I do everything from scratch. I don't do many things halfway. The only thing I do halfway is the Prego tomato sauce that I throw in with the pasta when I don't have time. Otherwise, I make my own sauce. I make really good pizza. I make my own tomato sauce, and my own dough. It's so good. It's so much better when you make it from scratch. It's unbelievable.'

CalBears.com: How did you learn German, Swedish and English?

Andersson: 'When you're in school in Sweden, it's the law that you have to take English. From when you're nine-years old, they teach you English until you're done with high school. When you turn 12, you get a choice of taking another language if you're good at English. It's either French, Spanish or German. If you're failing English, you have to take more English. I took German because I have a lot of German friends. I was fluent. If I spent some time in Germany, I would probably get it back, but I studied German for six years. I can write, read and understand it. I have a lot of English in my head right now.'

CalBears.com: Who were your role models growing up?

Andersson: 'My brother for sure. He was the one who got me competing. The guys, who I played with at my home course, helped me become a good competitor. I focused on beating them. I'm the girl. Annika (Sorenstam) is doing amazing things. Everyone always asks me if I'm going to follow her footsteps. I always say, 'No, I'm going to make my own.' I'm going to do my own thing. It's really good to have that (Sorenstam's example) and to know that it's possible. '

CalBears.com: How do you evaluate your Cal experience?

Andersson: 'It's been amazing. Last year, I said this is the best thing to happen to me, getting the opportunity to come here. I've always been competitive and want to do everything to the fullest. My dad is all about academics, and my mom is all about sports. My dad would be like how's school going, and my mom would ask how the last tournament went. It's a good balance. You get the best of both worlds at Cal. I love the Bay Area. I don't want to move. The coaching staff and the golf program are really good. The golf courses we play...the whole support system we have for the golf team is amazing. I'm lucky.'

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