Three years ago as a freshman in high school, Nicole Adam verbally committed to play golf for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
On Wednesday, she put it in writing.
Adam, one of the top junior girls’ golfers in the United States, signed her official national letter of intent to play golf for the women’s golf team at UNC, jotting her name on the dotted line in a special ceremony at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, where Adam is a member.
“I’m very excited,” Adam, 17, said about making things official. “Actually, I’m beyond excited.
“The coaches have always been so great to me, especially Coach Jan Mann, who has believed in me from the very start. North Carolina is just the perfect fit for me both academically and for golf. It’s my dream school.”
Adam started playing golf at 5 and played her first U.S. Kids Golf World Championship at Pinehurst by age 9. She was named the 2018 Carolinas Golf Association’s North Carolina Junior Player of the Year and made a spirited run in the 2019 Women’s North & South Amateur, narrowly falling to eventual champion – and 2019 U.S. Amateur champion – Gabi Ruffels in the Round of 32 after finishing tied for eighth through medal play. Currently, Adam is the 29th-ranked junior in the country and 9th in the 2020 graduating class.
Adam’s quick rise through the junior golf ranks is not surprising to her coach – LPGA major champion Donna Andrews, who has been guiding The O’Neal School senior since 2015.
“Nicole’s work ethic is off the charts,” Andrews said. “She’s a very dedicated golfer, she’s playing golf because she loves the game, and she has a passion that you cannot teach. That’s inspired her to continue to learn and to take the next step.”
That next step will come in Chapel Hill, where Adam is relishing the opportunity, like she has in leading O’Neal’s state championship golf team, to playing with and for her teammates.
“Playing as a team really puts in perspective just how important every shot is,” she said. “It’s about grinding for every stroke. That one stroke can mean the difference in the team winning or losing.”
Andrews has seen Adam grind, and it’s a marvel.
“She has that singular competitive edge,” Andrews said. “She always wants to go out and win, but even when she’s down, she just gets more driven. She’s a pure grinder.”
It’s a trait that has long been a part – a big part – of Adam’s game.
“I never feel like I am out of it,” she said. “I always think I have a chance and that I’m going to get back in it, even when it isn’t my day at all.”
Wednesday, though, was the day for Adam. While her decision has been made since her freshman year, she said it was good to make things official.
“It’s always been UNC,” she said. “Always. I never wavered.”
More From Pinehurst
Our most popular year-round golf package includes an extra round of golf.
- Resort accommodations for two nights
- Three rounds of golf
- Overflowing breakfast buffet and dinner daily