By Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Amanda Levy will continue her golf career in the fall at UNC-Pembroke.
The Wake Forest High School senior made it official Nov. 18 when she signed a national letter of intent to play Division II golf for the Braves.
“I decided on UNC-Pembroke because the university isn’t too small or too big; it’s the right campus size of students,” Levy said. “I like that it’s still expanding its campus, academic programs and athletic facilities too.”
The UNC-P golf program is highly revered in the Peach Belt Conference and was ranked as high as 13th in the nation among Division II golf teams last season.
“I was excited that Coach David Synan wanted me to come and be a part of his program in offering me a 2014 fall scholarship,” Levy said. “It’s exciting to be added to his talented team.”
Levy said she took unofficial and official visits to other universities.
“I wanted to see if I fit in with other college academic and golf programs and I visited some schools in North Carolina and Tennessee during the spring of my junior year,” Levy said. “I did not want to make a decision based on the image surrounding Division I athletes as it may limit a freshman’s playing opportunity. There are lots of young women international golf players all wanting spots on the large North Carolina university golf teams.”
Juanita Rico, the assistant golf coach at UNC-Pembroke said she is very excited to have Levy join the Braves golf team.
“She was a very successful high school player and it showed by being a four-time all- conference player and competing in the state tournament,” Rico said. “She was also her high school team’s most valuable player.”
“Amanda will bring a lot of depth and good energy to the team,” Rico added. “Not only is she a great player but she is an outstanding student and this will complement her career at UNC-Pembroke very well and it will help her to be a successful collegiate athlete.”
Levy, a member of the Wake Forest team for four years, led the Cougars to a sixth place finish in this year’s 4A state tournament.
“Amanda had an incredible four years in women’s golf at Wake Forest High School,” said Cougars golf coach Kevin Lynch. “Student athletes like her, that accomplish so much in sports competition and in the classroom, don’t come around too often.”
“It was an honor for me to be able to coach her and a joy to watch her,” Lynch added. “I can’t wait to see what she does at UNC-Pembroke.”
During her four years at Wake Forest, Levy earned academic all-conference and Cap 8 all-conference honors.
In addition, she was an all-regional qualifier and all-state qualifier and the team’s golfer of the year for four years.
Levy also received the WRAL Extra Effort Award last month. She has served as yearbook sports editor and has been a student government officer for four years as well as a member of the National Honor Society.
“It’s been an awesome senior year and hopefully it will be just as active at UNC-Pembroke,” she said.
This fall, Levy got the chance to play golf at the Pebble Beach Golf Links after being selected to represent the First Tee of the Triangle and North Carolina. She was one of 81 players selected and only 27 girls were invited to participate for the pro-junior title at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
She shot one of best rounds of 72 on the famed course and was paired with professional golfer Mike Goodes.
Levy said she started playing golf at the age of nine with her dad, Steve and older sister Megan.
“I got very involved with the First Tee of the Triangle Program,” Levy said. “The program enabled me as a junior golfer to play all the nice golf courses around the community with one of my favorites being my home course, Wil-Mar Golf Course.”
She said she started playing competitively in the Kid’s Golf Tournaments at Wil-Mar.
“Junior golfers are welcomed any day, any time to play out there by its owners and members, whom I will miss when I’m at UNC-Pembroke,” Levy said.
Levy, who has a handicap of 4.8, said her most memorable experience playing golf for the Cougars is playing the number six course at the Pinehurst County Club.
“Playing with my teammates there and representing Wake Forest High School was great,” she said. “We joke around a lot with each other, but become competitors when playing in tournaments.”
Another memorable moment Levy said was when she and Lynch posed beside the statue of the late professional golfer Payne Stewart alongside his signature stance at the Pinehurst Country Club during the state tournament.
“Her golf career in high school most definitely will have her prepared to compete at a high level of college golf,” Rico said. “Amanda was a leader throughout her high school so we are expecting to see her leadership skills and hard work come through next fall.”
Levy said she is anticipating college life and plans to major in the health field.
This summer, she said she will play in as many junior tournaments as she can before she enrolls at UNC-Pembroke.
Levy is the daughter of Steve and Angie Levy.