TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Entering into an event with three top-10 teams and seven ranked in the top 30 in the nation, Seminole women’s golf coach Amy Bond looks at the Clemson Invitational as one of the premier events in collegiate golf and one with a definite NCAA regional championship feel. The great aspect of the tournament for Bond is that her Seminoles enter the three-day event as the highest-ranked squad in the 17-team field.
Florida State is ranked No. 4 nationally by GolfWeek and is one of 11 teams in the tournament ranked in the nation’s top 50. In addition, the Seminoles are one of four ACC teams in the event, and with the ACC Championship beginning in less than two weeks, the seventh-year Seminole head coach knows a strong showing is important to her teams’ postseason aspirations.
“The Clemson Invitational is a great tournament for us to play to close out our regular season,” said Bond. “We are going to continue to learn about ourselves with each round we play and we have the opportunity to learn a lot about ourselves this weekend. It’s much different seeing teams in person than it is on paper. That’s the exciting thing about the position we have put ourselves in nationally and in the ACC. We are really looking forward to finishing the regular season well and moving into the postseason over the next three weekends.”
Florida State enters the Clemson Invitational as the highest ranked team in the event and with the highest ranked individual in the event. Junior Morgane Metraux, who has won two individual championships this spring, is ranked No. 6 in the Golfweek rankings while senior Matilda Castren is ranked No. 16. At No. 4, Florida State is the highest ranked ACC team in the nation (Duke is No. 7) and is one of only three teams nationally (also Stanford and Alabama) with as many as two players in the top 20 of the individual rankings.
Florida State has certainly earned its national rankings, both as a team and individually, with its stellar play throughout the fall and spring seasons. The Seminoles have played 17 of their 23 rounds this year under par, have finished six of their eight tournaments with an under-par team score and are a cumulative total of 87 strokes under par for the year. Individually, the Seminoles have carded 29 rounds in the 60s, 52 rounds under par and totaled more than half of their rounds (67 of 125) at par or better.
While the numbers the Seminoles have put up are amazing, you won’t hear anything but anticipation to compete once again as a team from any of the Seminoles.
“This team is excited to play again,” said senior Lydia Gumm. “Last week wasn’t our best outing (the Seminoles finished in third place at the Notre Dame Clover Cup) but that has served as motivation for the remainder of the season. We just have to play our game and not worry about any of the other teams. If we focus on us one shot at a time, we will be successful.”
With a school-record tying five team wins and four individual championships (three by Morgane Metraux and one by Matilda Castren) the Seminoles have already enjoyed a successful season.
But as Bond points out, the Seminoles are entering into the part of the season her players have prepared for since practice began in September.
“The Clemson Invitational is our final event of the regular season,” said Bond. “This group has done a great job of being focused, staying in the moment and playing each hole as it has come. At the same time, they have also prepared for the bigger picture and that is what is ahead of us now.”
Freshman Amanda Doherty, the only underclassmen in the Seminoles’ lineup, also sees Bond’s vision for the reaming two months of the season.
“I have learned so much this year, especially the need to always stay in the moment,” said Doherty. “I am very fortunate to be part of a such a special team and a great group of teammates. The opportunity to learn from my teammates helps make mr a better golfer every day.”
As the Seminoles play for their school-record sixth team win of the season against the likes of No. 5 Florida, No. 9 Furman, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 22 Oklahoma, No. 28 Ohio State and No. 26 Texas, they have more than one thing in mind – improving as individuals and as a team and winning a team championship.
“We had four girls place in the top 10 of the individual standings and we finished in third place at the Clover Cup,” said Bond. “The girls were excited about how we played as a team but are hungry to get back out on the course. As a coach, that shows me they want to improve and have a great desire to play even better.”
A strong showing at the Clemson Invitational would vault the Seminoles into the postseason and allow them to enjoy the April and May Madness in the sport of college golf.
Live Stats can be found on GolfStat at http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=11614.