TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – As the most recent president of the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, Florida State head coach Amy Bond is known to be very progressive. So, when the idea about four teams in the nation’s top 15 getting together to play two rounds of match-play just before the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, Bond jumped at the chance.
Bond will take her No. 5-ranked Seminoles to the Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Ill., on Saturday for the Northwestern Quad Match. The event will be hosted by No. 11 Northwestern and includes No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 Florida State and No. 9 Duke in a one-day, 36-hole format to give all four teams more match-play experience entering the NCAA Tournament.
The morning matchups have been determined by the GolfStat rankings, and are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. (Central Daylight Time) No. 3 Alabama will take on No. 11 Northwestern, and No. 5 Florida State will match up against No. 9 Duke. In the afternoon (beginning at approximately noon), the morning winners will face off and the morning losers will do the same.
The event marks Florida State’s second match-play event of the year. The Seminoles defeated Florida by a 3-2 score at Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee on April 7.
For the four competing teams, the Northwestern Quad Match is a perfect tee-off to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. After NCAA regional play (May 8-10), the top 24 teams will travel to Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., for the NCAA Championship Finals. The top eight teams in the standings after four rounds of stroke play will then compete in match-play with the national champion being determined after three rounds of bracketed play. It marks the third season the NCAA Division I women’s champion will be decided via match play.
“Playing in this event is an incredible win-win for our team,” Bond said. “We have worked hard to be in the position as one of the nation’s top teams and be invited to play in this event.”
The Seminoles’ lineup – one of the most consistent in the nation – is made up of two seniors (Matilda Castren and Lydia Gumm), two juniors (Kim and Morgane Metraux) and a freshman (Amanda Doherty). That lineup has represented Florida State in nine of its 10 matches this season and has helped the Seminoles win a national-best six team championships. It was also the group of players that Bond used to defeat Florida in match-play.
The Seminoles earned wins by Castren, Kim Metraux and Morgane Metraux to defeat the Gators.
Entering into match-play for the second time this season, the Seminoles learned a great deal from their victory over Florida.
“I love match-play and I’m really excited to play that format again this weekend,” said Gumm. “Against Florida I learned to stay patient and play against myself rather than my opponent.”
Gumm is enjoying the best year of her career with a career-low 72.21 stroke average in 29 rounds during 10 tournaments and a career-high six top 10 finishes. She is a cumulative total of five strokes under par in her last five tournaments and finished in a career-best tied for fourth at the ACC Championships earlier this month.
“I am really looking forward to this weekend’s event,” said Kim Metraux. “Our match against Florida gave us all a great deal of confidence moving forward and definitely helped us get used to match play again. Playing against great teams pushes us to play our best which is exactly what we are going to need to do in the next couple of weeks as we play against the best teams in the country in this event and in the NCAA’s.”
Metraux is also enjoying the best season of her career with a career-low 72.86 stroke average in 29 rounds during 10 events. She has earned four top-10 individual finishes and has finished three tournaments below par.
Castren, who is Florida State’s most experienced match-play participant, has a unique approach to this weekend’s event just outside of Chicago.
“I feel very comfortable in a match-play because we play that way in Europe a lot,” said Castren. “From the match against Florida, I learned to take advantage of every shot and every hole because they all make a huge difference in the end.”
For Bond, whose team was selected to play in the NCAA Championship for the school-record 12th consecutive year, this is the start of May Madness on the golf course. The Seminoles will play in this high-profile match, transition almost directly into the NCAA regional championship and then, hopefully, right into the NCAA championship finals.
“This is the most exciting time of the year for a collegiate golfer,” said Bond. “For our team it is especially exciting. The girls have all worked extremely hard to make this a very exciting year and now that the best time of the year is here we are right in the middle of all of the action. The next month is going to be a lot of fun and a great ride.”