EUGENE, Ore. (seminoles.com) – All Florida State junior golfer Lydia Gumm worked for this season was the opportunity to accompany her Seminole teammates to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships at the Eugene Country Club.
Yes, earning her first career collegiate victory at the Florida Challenge in January was a special feeling. And helping lead the Seminoles to a program-best second-place finish at the NCAA Shoal Creek Regional Championship might have been even better. And the honor of being voted as the Seminoles’ team captain for the second consecutive year is one of Gumm’s proudest accomplishments.
But nothing that has happened during one of the best seasons in the history of the Seminole program will compare to the experiences of championship week.
“It’s such an exciting feeling to be here at nationals with our team,” Gumm said. “Being here together is the thing we talk about all year long; it’s one of our driving forces.”
Gumm enters the 2016 Championships enjoying the best season of her three-year Seminole career. She finished in a tie for 15th place at the NCAA Shoal Creek Regional Championship, has earned a single-season career high-tying three top-10 finishes and has led the Seminoles to two team championships – the Jacksonville Classic in the fall and the Florida State Match-Up in the spring. Gumm tied her career best for a single round with a 68 in the second round of the Jim West Challenge during the fall season and has finished as Florida State’s leader at the Florida Challenge and the ACC Championships.
Gumm has certainly persevered throughout the last year to get to Eugene.
She finished as the runner-up at the prestigious Women’s Western Golf Association Amateur Championship at the Nashville Golf and Athletic Club in Brentwood, Tenn., during the summer of 2015. That was shortly after she earned All-ACC honors for the first time in her career, and helped the Seminoles to a third place finish at the ACC Championships and to a top-10 finish at the NCAA San Antonio Regional Championship during the spring of 2015.
Shortly after the Women’s Western in June, the remainder of her promising summer was cut short because of a wrist injury. The injury didn’t allow her to defend her title at the Kentucky State Amateur and kept her from competing in the fall season opening Schooner Fall Classic with her teammates.
Gumm’s accomplishments are not lost on sixth-year Seminole head coach Amy Bond who has directed Florida State into the national finals for the first time in her head coaching career.
“Lydia’s fall season was in question because we weren’t sure how serious her injury was,” Bond said. “But she did what she needed to do and took the necessary time to rehab her injury and get back into playing shape. The main thing she did was anxiously anticipate the opportunity to get back on the course and help our team.”
Gumm worked her way back into the lineup and helped lead the Seminoles to a first place finish at the Jacksonville Classic and second place finishes at the Jim West Challenge and the Cardinal Cup. FSU’s finish at the Cardinal Cup, played at the University of Louisville, was especially pleasing for the Radcliff, Ky., native.
“There were some very rough times with two surgeries in the fall,” Gumm said. “But to be playing at the national championship with my teammates has been the ultimate goal and I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this team.”
Florida State’s success continued during the spring season, with six top-five team finishes. Gumm played a large role in the Seminoles’ success with an individual championship, two top-10 and five top-25 individual finishes. She enters the championship week with a 74.09 stroke average after setting career highs for single-season rounds (32) and events (11).
Her accomplishments this season, though outstanding, will be but a distant memory when Gumm and her teammates drive through the gates of the Eugene Country Club on Friday morning for the first of what they hope to be six days on the biggest stage in college golf.
“Lydia is one of those teammates that everyone wishes they had,” junior Matilda Castren said. “Not only is she a great teammate but she is a great friend to me, someone I know will always have my back. She is one of the kindest people I know, cares about all of the people around her and brings positive energy to our group. She is one of those friends that I know will always be there for me even when we are far apart.”
“Everyone is so excited to be here,” Gumm said. “We have all prepared and put in the work. We’re so ready and we want to let our work show how well prepared we are to play.”