February 9, 1999
In the world of collegiate golf, talent breeds success, but experience wins championships. This year’s Lady Seminole team not only has the talent to be successful, but the experience necessary to be one of the best teams in Florida State history. Complete with a potential All-American and top five that has played in a total of 120 collegiate events, this year’s team have set lofty goals for the 1998-99 season. As the Tribe enters the spring season with three top five finishes and sixth place finish in the fall, they are setting higher goals.
“Our goal that we set out for in the fall was winning one tournament,” said head coach Debbie Dillman. “Now in spring season, they are looking to win at least one tournament and possibly two. That is going to be a very tall order with the tough schedule that we face.”
“The state championship in April is a tournament that they are setting there sights on. We are just looking to play good golf as we approach Regionals in May. I am confident that we can make it to the Regionals this year if we play the way that we have been playing.”
The Lady Seminoles return the top five golfers from last year’s squad that recorded four top five team finishes and one individual tournament victory. Hoping to improve on a season-best tied for third place finish at the Lady Seminole Invitational last year, the Tribe will set their sights at visiting the victory podium on more than one occassion.
“Experience is very important in college golf,” Dillman commented. “That experience gives them a sense of confidence in each tournament. There is a comfort level that they have each week and they combine that with the hard work that they do to be success. They get to a point where the little things don’t sweat them anymore. They just focus on their golf.”
“It is also very important that they have played most of these courses before. Each year we make a book and they are very famaliar with these courses. Most of them have played these for three or four years.”
The goals continue to be the same for the Florida State women’s golf program. This team will set out to qualify for regional play and a trip to the NCAA Championships. The road will be as difficult, if not more difficult, than last year considering that several of the top teams in the country play in FSU’s district.
“We set several goals as a team and one of them is to make it to the Championships,” commented Dillman. “We also wanted to improve on some individual aspects of the game, like putting and overall scoring.”
While last year’s team featured only one senior, this year’s team will have four. Amy Bond, Amy Spooner and Sarah Capie return for their fourth and final year at FSU, while Erika Iding will be playing in her third year with the Lady Seminoles. Sophomore Louise Wright will round out a top five line-up after playing as a true freshman.
The top player as the Lady Seminoles enter the fall season is senior Amy Bond. Bond, a native of Ocala, FL, has played in 29 events in her career and captured her first tournament victory last year at the Ryder-Florida State Championships. Bond led all Lady Seminoles last year with a stroke average of 76.7 and was selected as a member of the All-ACC team. Bond will contend for postseason honors again this year.
The bright spot of the summer for the Seminole golf program was Amy Spooner. Spooner, a senior from Margate, FL, captured the U.S. Women’s Amatuer Public Links Championship in Hawaii in June. Spooner, a three-year player for the Lady Seminoles, has one top 10 finish in her career, while recording three top 20 finishes last year.
Erika Iding enters her final year at Florida State after four top 20 finishes in eight events last year. Iding was third on the team last year in stroke average at 78.0 and will be intregal member of this year’s team. Iding transferred to Florida State after one year at the University of Arkansas.
The final senior is Sarah Capie of Carterville, IL. Capie has played in 22 events as a Lady Seminole and has complied a career stroke average of 77.7. Capie, a two-time Academic All-American, is also a three-time member of the ACC Honor Roll.
The biggest surprise of 1997-98 was the emergence of freshman Louise Wright. Wright, a native of Suffolk, England, came to FSU after a heralded amatuer career, but wasn’t expected to make the immediate impact that she did. Wright played in all five events of the spring, while finishing tied for 33rd at the Lady Gator Invitational and the Lady Gamecock Classic.
Several young players will contend for playing time as the season goes on. The best candidate after fall workouts is freshman Alison Zimmer of Tallahassee, FL. Very experienced in amatuer play, Zimmer will provide depth and will be a player of the future for the Seminole golf program. Junior Laura Kowalski and sophomore Stacy Burgin have played collegiate events and will continue to push the top five. Freshman Kelley Winship and Kristen Sanborn round out a roster that is talented from top to bottom.
The schedule will feature several important tournaments for district rankings and will feature some of the top teams in the country. The Lady Seminoles will again travel to several tournaments in the southeast as well as going to the Dominician Republic for a tournament. The season rounds out with the ACC Championships and hopefully a trip to the NCAA Regionals after a one-year hiatus.
One of the toughest tournaments of the year will feature some of the nation’s best teams at the Lady Gamecock Classic. The University of South Carolina will be hosting the NCAA East Regional this year, therefore attracting interest from several of the powers of the East.
“The Lady Gamecock Classic will be a extremely difficult field,” Dillman stated. “The Lady Gator will also be very important from a District ranking standpoint. We need to play well in those two tournaments to solidify our position in the rankings.”
Florida State is a member of the District South that qualifies eight teams for the Regional tournament in Columbia, SC. The committee in charge of selecting the teams analyze the results from both the fall and spring season. Criteria is used to determine the eight teams that are selected.
“The biggest difference between the fall and spring schedule is that the Committee looks at the way you are playing at the end of the season,” commented Dillman. “Last year we played extremely well in the fall, but we were beat by every team in the spring and, therefore, didn’t qualify for regionals. We got to have some key wins against tough teams in the spring to convince the committee.”
This year’s version of the Lady Seminole golf team has the talent and experience to remain at the top of the collegiate golf world. With high expectations and lofty goals, this season should be one of the most exciting yet for Florida State University.