By MIKE MARSEE
9:26 PM PDT, June 2, 2012
Real life can wait; Andrew Yeast has some more golf to play.
Yeast is looking forward to a fifth season at Eastern Kentucky University and to the chance to use experience to help a young team improve.
The 2008 Mercer County graduate hasn’t emerged as one of EKU’s top players during his college career, but he has been asked to step up as a leader for a young team in the coming year, and he said he’s happy to oblige.
“I was set to graduate in the fall, but coach (Pat Stephens) wanted me to stay and play another year,” Yeast said. “We’re going to have kind of a young team, and we don’t have a lot of older guys, and this way I can get the full experience of four years.”
Yeast is getting some more tournament experience this weekend in the J.E. Butler Memorial tournament at Danville Country Club.
The Butler is one of the first stops on a busy summer schedule that he hopes will prepare him for his new assignment at EKU, which loses its top two players to graduation.
“I’ll be like the grandpa,” Yeast said. “I’ve done it all, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen the highs and lows of it, and Coach just wants me to pass that along.”
Yeast said he’s fine with filling that role.
“I enjoy it, and I don’t always have to play the best in tournaments to do it,” he said.
Yeast has played in only a handful of tournaments in the three seasons following a redshirt year in 2008-09.
He played three events in the school year that just ended. His best round was a 73 in an October tournament at Hopkinsville hosted by Austin Peay, and he averaged 79.1 in eight competitive rounds.
But he said he is enjoying being part of the team at EKU, even if the results haven’t been what he hoped for.
“It’s fun, and I’ve made a lot of good friends,” he said.
He said he has also adjusted to the demands of collegiate golf, which has both fall and spring seasons.
“It’s pretty grueling, pretty tough. It’s day in, day out,” Yeast said. “You figure out who you are as a person. It’s defining.”
Yeast shot 76 on Saturday in the first round of the 36-hole Butler, where he is part of the championship flight.
His foursome included a couple of other former local high school players: Will Davis, who was three years ahead of him at Mercer, and Grant Blevins, a 2011 Boyle County graduate now playing for Centre College.
He said he plans to play several tournaments this summer.
“I’ve got a pretty full schedule. I’m trying to stay busy,” he said.
Yeast’s plan after wrapping up his EKU career is to go to graduate school — probably outside Kentucky, he said — to study public administration and work toward in urban planning, economic development or perhaps coastal management. But he said he’s happy to put those plans on hold just a little longer.
“I still get to love off my parents for another year,” he said.
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Matthew Anderson of Tompkinsville, who just finished his sophomore season at Kentucky, set the pace in the first round of the Butler by shooting 4-under-par 68.
Anderson leads two-time defending champion Eric King of Ferguson by one shot. Joe Barr, Chris Caldwell and Daniel Deluca each shot 71 and were the only other players under par.