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Surrey recruit Bhandal swings from hockey to golf to projected leader of SFU team

Current Fraser Heights student a multisport athlete ‘who is calm, cool and confident,’ coach says
Anaya Bhandal began to focus more on competitive golf in 2018, after playing rep hockey with Surrey Falcons. (Submitted photo)

Surrey golfer Anaya Bhandal will rep SFU starting next fall, 2022.

The Fraser Heights Secondary student is among five golfers signed to the university women’s team for NCAA tournaments.

All are “capable of having an immediate impact,” according to head coach Matt Steinbach.

“I’m very excited to see Anaya’s growth over her time at SFU,” Steinbach says in a Nov. 10 news release posted to “She is a multisport athlete who is calm, cool and confident. I have no doubt that she will be an immediate leader on the team, and I know her dedication and work ethic will not only help her achieve her individual goals but will also push our team to be better.”

Bhandal, 17, played rep hockey with Surrey Falcons until 2019, when she began to focus more on competitive golf. She’s been coached at Northview Golf & Country Club’s academy, along with fellow SFU recruit Bailey Bjornson, a Cloverdale resident, among others. Bhandal has also taught younger golfers at the Surrey course.

“While relatively new to tournament golf,” a bio says, “Bhandal’s athletic skill set is expected to translate to the golf course and give her an advantage in NCAA Division II.”

Over the past year, Bhandal has two runner-up finishes and three top-five finishes in Maple Junior Tour and Canadian Junior Golf Association events. She also had the lowest junior score in a Vancouver Golf Tour event.

At SFU, she plans to study in the Beedie School of Business with a focus on human resources.

SFU Women’s Golf this month signed its largest recruiting class of the NCAA era. In addition to Bhandal, the four other “fab five” golfers are Izzy Ferguson (from Ottawa), Meera Minhas (Burnaby), Chloe Tran (Langley) and Sueah Park (Langley).

“This group will help the women’s team return to their form as 2020 SFU President’s Team of the Year, and they will build the foundation to sustain SFU Women’s Golf as an annual NCAA Championship contending team,” Steinbach said. “These students will create a core foundation and culture of excelling in the classroom, in the community, and on the golf course. “

The coach said the pandemic-triggered pause for SFU golf allowed him to focus on recruiting and “getting to know the players on a much more personal level,” he said. “The relationships I’ve built with (the golfers) and their families is without a doubt the best I’ve experienced, and really speaks to the core values of our program.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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