By Victoria Hernandez
A little girl rolls around in the grass and chases after the butterflies that flitter past. Her parents are laughing in the Spanish sunshine as the white golf ball shines against the green. Leticia Ras-Anderica, an only child, was dragged to play golf with her father and mother. Little did they know that she would be a top prospect for college golf and the leader of the University of Miami golf team.
As a sophomore, “Leti” has led the Hurricanes in all three spring tournaments. Her highest finish was a tie for fourth place at the Hurricane Invitational.
“At the beginning of the semester, Coach (Patti) Rizzo said I have to be more of a leader rather than a follower because the first year I was just tagging along. I had no idea what I was doing,” Ras-Anderica said.
She started taking golf seriously when she was about 10 years old. School in Moraira, Spain, is very rigorous compared to the United States. Ras-Anderica would attend classes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and would end up practicing into the night.
She frequently wears long dangly earrings to accent her long brown hair. Her brown eyes reveal how focused and driven she is in life.
She is the daughter of a German mother and English father who was born in Australia. She has no siblings and neither do her parents. The three of them are very close. With a seven-hour flight, her parents are able to visit her often enough that she doesn’t miss them too terribly.
Ras-Anderica came to Miami because in Europe, sports in the college setting are not available. She chose Miami for the same reason most students do: the weather. Moraira, like Miami, is on the coast. Windsurfing is one of her favorite things to do when she is in Spain. Home for Leti will always be defined by a nice seaside getaway. “I feel like I have to live somewhere near the beach or water, somewhere.”
Golf isn’t Ras-Anderica’s only love. She equally enjoys art. She took an art class in high school and has been an avid painter ever since. She reflected on one of her proudest memories.
“My high school, they organized this gallery to put up all the student’s paintings. I didn’t really want to sell mine because I thought, ‘Who’s going to buy my paintings?’ Then, this old couple, they just decided to walk in and they liked my paintings. I put a really high price on them, because I didn’t want to sell them. But then they ended up buying them so I was like ‘Ok, sure, go ahead,” she beamed.
She is a fine arts major and has found a new passion for photography in one of her UM courses. She is working with film photography, but she definitely prefers the instantaneous nature of digital photography. If she could, she would love to paint all the time. However, she understands that art is not a very practical career, so she is seeing how far golf will take her.
She aspires to be a professional, just like coach Patti Rizzo, the 1982 LPGA Rookie of the Year. “She and I tend to click well on the course,” said Rizzo after the Hurricane Invitational where she walked all three rounds with her rising star. The coach shares her wisdom and process through each shot. Ras-Anderica says that her entire mindset has changed. She knows she is good, but doesn’t want to commit to anything before experiencing a full college career.
“I don’t think I’m ever gonna give up golf, because it’s such a shame practicing so hard for all these years and then just giving it up? No,” she reflected.
Despite a busy golf schedule, Ras-Anderica takes time to be a spectator, too. Golf on television is boring, but she loves soccer and is a Barcelona fan. She also played tennis at the same time as golf until she knew she had to pick one to get good at. She tries to keep up with tennis in her free time.
Her team is her family now. “We all love each other,” she smiles as she describes how the girls practice, eat, listen to music and go to the movies together. Her favorite trip so far was the San Diego tournament where the team got to do a lot of sight-seeing. “Every tournament is a fun adventure.” It’s a good thing there are many more adventures ahead.