Norman, Okla. (seminoles.com) — For the No. 20 Florida State women’s golf team and Head Coach Amy Bond, the Schooner Fall Classic is about the kids.
In fact, the entire tournament is all about the kids.
The kids are those who are staying at the OK Korral and who are being treated for cancer.
The OK Kids Korral, in partnership with the Toby Keith Foundation, provides a cost-free, convenient and comfortable home for pediatric cancer patients receiving treatment at The Children’s Hospital at University of Oklahoma Medical Center, the Peggy & Charles Stephenson Cancer Center as well as other nearby facilities. The foundation has been helping children with cancer since 2006. The mission of the foundation is to encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients.
The partnership between the tournament and the foundation, which creates a unique experience for each of the participating golfers and coaches, was born from the passion for both by Tricia Covel. At the conclusion of the Saturday’s first round, all of the student-athletes and coaches will spend much of Saturday evening getting to know the children staying at the OK Kids Korral.
“For five years, Florida State has attended Schooner Fall Classic,” said Covel. “Each year, they are a dominant presence on the course and at OK Kids Korral. We are so thankful for Coach Bond, her staff and the team for supporting us continuously and effectively. The tournament benefits children with cancer and we couldn’t do it without their support.”
Spending time with the children, according to Bond, is the highlight of the weekend for her and her players.
“Playing in this event is very special,” said Bond. “All of the proceeds go to the kids. We live a very blessed life where we can do really what we want. All these kids want to do is have fun, smile and meet the girls. As long as they’ll have us, I’ll keep wanting to go back. If we can give them a little bit of brightness to their day and put a smile on their face, then I want to be a part of it.”
Florida State won the 2017 Schooner Fall Classic as it shot a school-record total of 829 to outdistance Alabama by 12 strokes to win the championship. The Seminoles’ 23-strokes under par total established a record for the event. Senior Morgane Metraux won her first of three career championships with a school-record total of 201 for the three-round event. She defeated Alice Hewson of Clemson by two strokes to win the title.
Florida State is one of five top-20 ranked teams in the event along with No. 4 Alabama, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 10 Notre Dame and No. 18 Texas A&M. The Seminoles will also compete against Clemson and Miami from the ACC; Baylor from the Big 12; Florida and Mississippi State from the SEC, Central Florida and Tulsa from the AAC; Washington from the Pac-12 and Texas State from the Sun Belt. The 15-team tournament will be played with a par of 71 and 6,046 yards at the Belmar Golf Club.
Florida State’s lineup consists of seniors Kim and Morgane Metraux, sophomores Amanda Doherty and Ashley Mangan and freshman Kathleen Sumner. Mangan is making her Seminole debut at this weekend’s events.
As the Seminoles look to become the first repeat winner and the second two-time champion in the tournaments’ short history, the field of 15 will play for one of the most unique trophies in all of sports – a guitar autographed by Toby Keith. The guitar which the Seminoles won a year ago stands proudly placed in the Seminoles’ trophy case. It is signed by legendary country singer Toby Keith.
“The Toby Keith signed guitar from this tournament a year ago is very special,” said Bond. “Not only because we won; it was arguably one of our biggest wins ever. But because of the tournament itself and the fact that all the proceeds go to the OK Kids Korral. It’s something special. When you look at the kids that are there they are out their supporting the girls. And they’re (the kids) dealing with cancer. Every day they are getting poked and prodded and we get to be outside playing golf for a great university.”
The final round of the tournament will be televised live by Sooner Sports TV. The broadcast airs on Monday, Sept. 25 from 12:00-2:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports Southwest and Fox College Sports Pacific. Chad McKee, of Sooner Sports TV, will provide play-by-play during the round, while former LPGA pro Stephanie Brecht and former Oklahoma golfer Kaitlyn Rohrback will serve as analysts.
Round one of the Schooner Fall Classic will begin at 9 a.m. (EST) Saturday. Live scoring and results are available at BirdieFire.com.
The prospect of winning the Schooner Fall Classic certainly intrigues Bond.
“This would be huge,” said Bond. “It’s our second tournament of the year and we’ve come off a great first tournament. For these guys it would be a little bit of validation. We lost some key parts but we’ve added some new pieces to that puzzle and some people that didn’t get the opportunity to play a year ago. If we won in a much stronger field, I think it would be validation.”
And about that signed guitar ….
“It’s something that I will always treasure and when I retire, that guitar is going with me.”