By KIPP HANLEY
Patti Anctil is a busy woman.
The 44-year-old Haymarket resident works from her home as a softball development specialist for IBM Global Services, and when she goes out, her cell phone is always by her side. The fact that she not only finds time for golf but plays extremely well is somewhat of a small miracle.
”I don’t play that much [for fun], I play mostly in my tournaments,” said Anctil, who recently made it to the semifinals of the Virginia State Golf Association Women’s Amateur match-play tournament. ”I have lots of people who want to play with me, but I don’t have the time.”
Anctil is a good friend of Manassas resident Sherry Bowman, this year’s VSGA Women’s Stroke Play champion and one of the best amateur golfers in the state. Nothing Anctil does surprises Bowman, who lost to Anctil in the quarterfinal match of this year’s State Am.
”She’s a little underexposed tournament-wise, but when she does get a chance to play, she does well,” said Bowman, who plays with her in the VSGA Ladies Team Tournament held twice a year in Virginia. ”There’s lots of similarities between us. She relies on the same things I do –?accuracy and short game to get the job done.”
A Virginia Beach native, Anctil grew up with a strong background in the sport. She played at Frank W. Cox High School on an all-boys team and then received a partial golf scholarship to Florida State.
Playing with the boys never bothered Anctil, who also played softball and basketball growing up.
”I played all my dad’s cronies and I liked it,” Anctil said. ”I love the competition.”
Golf also allowed her to become closer to her father, who was a civil service engineer for the Navy.
”I have a great relationship with my father and golf is at the heart of that relationship,” Anctil said.
After playing three seasons at Florida State, she put golf on the backburner. She quit school, got married and had a son, Tom. Anctil eventually got divorced and raised Tom herself after moving to Prince William County in 1984. When he turned 16, she picked the clubs back up and began playing in competitive tournaments around the state. She reached the semifinals of the State Am in 2001 and won the stroke play title in 2002 at the Golden Horseshoe in Williamsburg.
However, it’s just now that Anctil feels like she’s playing her best golf. She takes lessons from a professional at Argyle Country Club in Maryland and has noticed a change in a short time. Her backswing was too close to her body, which made her swipe at the ball instead of hitting through it at a better angle.
That swing change has helped her do some good things on the course. During the qualifying round for the State Am, she was 2-over par after 13 holes but birdied four of the last five holes to shoot a 70 –?best in the field.
”I am a really good 2 or 3-handicap player but every now and then, I have a round [like that] that comes out of the blue,” Anctil said. ”And that’s really fun.”
Like Bowman, Anctil’s goals include winning the State Am. Neither player has done it yet but Anctil remains confident that she can do it.
”I think I have the game for it if I could extend that streak [of playing well] for a week,” Anctil said.
”It’s much nicer having her as a partner than having her as an opponent,” Bowman said.