Andrew Buchanan committed himself to golf at age 13 — old by today’s standards. But after five years of meticulous work, the Menlo School senior is passing the herd as he wraps up his high school career.
Buchanan will tee off in his last high school golf tournament on Wednesday when he hits the course at Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel to compete in the CIF State Championships. The 18-year-old, who will be joined by fellow San Mateo County golfer Bradley Knox of Sacred Heart Prep in the event, is hoping to cap off the first chapter of his career by etching his name in history.
“They print the names of the past champions,” Buchanan said. “It’d be fun to get a top five, but I definitely want to win and add my name to that list.”
It would be an understatement to call the Buchanans a golf family. Buchanan’s grandfather designed and constructed a course in Topeka, Kan., after retirement in the 1960s; his mother, Sue Buchanan, plays four or five rounds a week and competes in a women’s league through the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California; and his sister recently completed an NCAA Division III career at Claremont McKenna.
But Buchanan devoted his time and energy to a variety of activities growing up — basketball, baseball, piano lessons — until he eventually committed himself to golf during the summer after he completed the eighth grade.
At 6-foot-2, Buchanan said he realized he was too short to go anywhere in basketball, and as a pitcher in baseball, he only played every third day.
“I chose golf because I enjoyed being able to be out there practicing every day,” he said.
He lagged behind the competition during his freshman year, though, competing against kids who’d played nearly every day since they were 8 or 9 years old. But he caught up with the pack during his sophomore year in 2011, and last May he qualified for U.S. Open sectionals by shooting a 70 in qualifiers in Santa Cruz.
Buchanan was sidelined during the sectionals, however, because he obtained a hairline fracture in his elbow playing basketball at his friend’s graduation party.
“Long term it didn’t really affect me that much,” Buchanan said. “I learned a lesson realizing I need to be more careful in the future.”
His game continued to improve this year as he went undefeated in dual match play, snagging West Bay Athletic League Player of the Year honors and qualifying for the state championships by shooting a 72 in the NorCal tournament.
“He’s become a complete golfer,” said David Buchanan, Andrew’s dad and the Menlo golf coach.
In the fall, Buchanan will enter the next phase of his career when he joins the Southern Methodist University golf team, an experience he is looking forward to.
“Golf can be a lonely sport,” he said. “It’s fun to be part of a team.”