TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The first match of the spring is exciting for every team in college golf. Each of the players have practiced through the winter months and are elated when the weather begins to turn warmer.
For the Florida State women’s golf team and head coach Amy Bond, the call to the tee box for the first event of the season is especially exciting. The sound of the starters’ voice announcing the first golfer on the first hole means the much anticipated Florida State Match-Up is set to begin.
The Fifth Annual Florida State Match-Up – the most unique event in all of college golf – begins Friday (Feb. 9) and runs through Saturday (Feb. 10) at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course in Club in Tallahassee. Due to weather challenges the teams will play 36 holes on Friday and 18 on Saturday. The event brings together 12 of the top teams in the nation for a weekend of fun, fellowship and great golf to begin the 2018 spring season.
“The first round of the first event of the spring is the round that everyone looks forward to playing,” said Bond who has led her team to two consecutive Match-Up championships. “With the support of Florida State University and our athletic administration, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to host a top-notch event with all of the eyes of the collegiate golf world on Tallahassee. It’s great to open the season at a great tournament and it’s even better to host the event on our home course.”
The goal of the tournament is to get the spring season kicked off with some fun and friendly competition. From its inception in 2014, Bond and her staff wanted coaches and players to be able to participate in a tournament that is unlike anything they play in all year.
The twelve teams will tee off in twosomes for the first two rounds and then in a final round shotgun in threesomes. The twosomes will consist of partner teams playing together. This year’s partners are Florida State/Texas A&M, South Carolina/Virginia, Missouri/Coastal Carolina, Columbia/Princeton, Notre Dame/Kentucky and Minnesota/Michigan State.
“It’s great to welcome back long-time friends and teams who have played in the event in previous years,” said Bond. “It’s just as exciting to welcome new friends and new teams to THE event as we continue to build a traditional tournament that becomes known as not only a really fun and competitive event but as the event that is the beginning to the season in college golf.”
The Seminoles enter the 2018 Florida State Match-Up as the first two-time defending champion in the history of the tournament. Florida State defeated South Carolina by 10 strokes to win the 2017 team championship and defeated the Gamecocks by four strokes to win the 2016 championship. Along the way, the Seminoles and Texas A&M have teamed to win the special match-up portion of the event in each of the last three years.
“The match-up championship is great and to have won three straight with Texas A&M is very special for our team,” said Bond. “Over the years, the players on both teams have developed relationships that will stand for a lifetime for many of the girls. Ultimately, that is the idea behind the event and that is the reason we work so hard throughout the year to make this a great event. The event is for the players and that, for me, is how it’s always going to be.”
Florida State senior Kim Metraux, who finished in a tie for second place in the individual standings in 2016, will play in the event for a fourth time. She will remember not only the great golf and two team championships in the Match-Up, but the friends that she has made.
“It’s extremely exciting to start the spring season at the Match-Up,” said Metraux. “It’s been a long time since the last tournament in the fall and the whole team is ready to compete again. I’m looking forward to helping our team defend its title and the opportunity to play on our home course. This is the most special tournament we will play in all year long.”
Metraux also adds that playing at home in front of friends is an added bonus.
“We love playing at home at Seminole,” said Metraux. “We get to follow a routine, sleep in our own beds and be in our environment. We are thankful to Stan Wilcox, our Director of Athletics for giving our team now and in the future this incredible opportunity. The support we get from FSU and the community is awesome.”
The Seminoles will have the chance to play at home again in May as they host the 2018 NCAA Tallahassee Regional Championship on the same course.
As Bond busily prepares for the start of the event she has seen since it’s infancy, she continues to tweak and improve the event each year. Her preparations for this year’s event illustrate how far this event has come.
“We are continuously looking for ways to make this a better event for our team and players and well as each of the teams who come to Tallahassee each year,” said Bond. “This is going to be our best tournament yet and that is what I am the most excited about as we begin play with the practice round on Thursday. We are going to continue to improve on the experience for each of the competitors and make this a destination tournament.”
Admission to all four days (including Thursday’s practice round) is free and spectators are welcome to walk all 18 holes with their favorite team. Please check seminoles.com for results and tee times each day.