Men’s College Golf: NDSU’s Israelson weighs options for next season

Andrew Israelson 2018-19 Chip 3.JPG
North Dakota State University senior and former Staples-Motley Cardinal Andrew Israelson watches a chip shot during last fall's season. Israelson and the Bison got one spring tournament in before the NCAA canceled the spring season.

Weather plagued Andrew Israelson’s fall season and COVID-19 ended his spring season before it began.

That’s the best way to summarize Israelson’s senior season as a member of the North Dakota State University men’s golf team.

NDSU competed in one spring tournament before the NCAA canceled all spring sports. At the Joust Feb. 24-25 in Jurupa Valley, Calif., the Bison tied for sixth with Israelson carding rounds of 72-74-81 for a 36th-place 227.

The team was in Arizona preparing for the Grand Canyon University Invite in Phoenix when the rest of the spring season was canceled.

“The tournament we were at got canceled probably during or fifth or sixth hole of our practice round,” Israelson said. “It was just kind of weird. We thought maybe it would just get canceled for this tournament and then we would play in our next tournament. Then everything started to shut down. We played a couple more holes and then the NHL shutdown. Played a couple more holes and then the NCAA came out and said they were canceling all the spring championships.”


At the time Israelson was disappointed the NCAA didn’t just suspend play and reevaluate the situation at a specified later date to determine if play could resume -- similar to what the Minnesota State High School League is doing.

Israelson’s goal list of his senior season was lengthy. He wanted to win the conference championship as a team. He had his sights set on a regional title as well and making it to the NCAA Championship.

“I know those are pretty high expectations, but anything is obtainable with a lot of work,” Israelson said. “I thought this year, this spring, was probably going to be our earliest spring for getting out on the golf course. I thought we would have the upper hand because our team is pretty solid. I thought we could have a good playoff run.”

NDSU’s opening fall match was canceled because of weather. The Bison opened the season with a second-place tie at the Crusader Collegiate in Chesterton, Ind. Israelson tied for 19th with a 54-hole 218. He fired rounds of 72-77-69.

The Bison landed in a tie for fourth at the Zach Johnson Invite Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Israelson led the team with a three-round 222. He closed the tournament with a 71.

Less than a week later, Israelson claimed his first top 10 finish of the season at the Ron Moore Invite

The Staples-Motley High School graduate and the Bison finished off the fall season in grand fashion at the ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Oct. 22. NDSU broke three school records and earned the team victory. Israelson tied for fourth individually with rounds of 66-67-74. His 207 tied him for third-best in school history. It was his sixth career top 5 finish.

Israelson will graduate this spring. He does have the option of returning for one more season. For now, he’s keeping the option on the table as he contemplates graduate school, picking up another major or just entering the workforce.


“I’m kind of keeping all the options open right now,” Israelson said. “I haven’t really made a decision. I have to talk to some coaches and maybe some administrators and some counselors for classes to see if I did end up making that decision would I have to take certain classes or how many credits I would need to have. There’s just a lot of options for me, which is nice. I’ll just take my time, especially now being quarantined. I’ll take the next couple of months to think about what I want to do with the next year of my life.”

During his four-year career, Israelson finished with a 73.16 scoring average. He claimed one medalist honor, six top 5s and 13 top 10s in 36 events. His career low round came during his sophomore season when he posted a 64.

As a junior, Israelson posted a scoring average of 73 in 28 rounds to rank second on the team and fifth-best in school history. He posted five top 10 finishes, including co-medalist honors at the Summit League Championship.

He was named to the Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence and to the Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar Team. He was voted to the Summit League All-Academic Team and named to the academic honor roll.

For his play, he was voted first-team All-Summit League. It was his second straight year of earning that award. He was All-Summit League Second Team his freshman year.

“Right now it’s not entirely different from other years because we still wouldn’t be outside playing golf on our home course,” Israelson said. “It’s weird more so not having school. I wake up in the morning, make breakfast and I pretty much do nothing the whole day. I watch a lot of TV. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. Hopefully, maybe nice weather will come around and golf courses will open up and the governor will let people play golf in Minnesota.”

In high school, Israelson was a three-time all-state and two-time all-section tournament medalist for the Cardinals. He won 21 tournaments over his six-year varsity career, including the 2014 Class 2A State title. He was fourth in the state tournament as a junior and freshman and placed 16th as an eighth-grader. He helped the Cardinals to the Class 2A state team title in 2013.

“Depending on how long this lasts, I was planning on playing in a few more tournaments this summer,” Israelson said. “I thought about playing in the Dakota Tour tournaments as an amateur just to see how I would fare out there. I might do that and find some other stuff.”


Israelson has not abandoned the thought of possibly going pro. He said he’s realistic about it though.

“I’ll need some time and some resources and some other factors come into that. I’m just waiting for the right moment. I”m not trying to push it. If the right moment came, I would turn pro. It’s not that time right now.”

Andrew Israelson

School: North Dakota State University

Year: Senior

Sport: Golf

Major: Finance


High school: Staples-Motley

Parents: Bill and Sarah Israelson

Andrew Israelson 2019_GLF_003.JPG
Andrew Israelson

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
What To Read Next
Get Local