TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The team championship at an important national event and a top-20 national ranking can do wonders for the confidence of any team.
The Seminoles are that team in the world of women’s collegiate golf as they won the championship at the Florida State match-up their last time out and are ranked 18th by Golfstat and 22nd by GolfWeek as they begin play in this week’s Gator Women’s Invitational at the University of Florida.
“The last two great results at the Florida Challenge and the Florida State match-up have given our team a tremendous amount of confidence heading into the Gator (Invitational),” said sophomore Kim Metraux. “We all have confidence in each other. We know that everybody on our team is going to produce a good result whenever we play. It’s a great feeling to know that we can rely on each of our teammates.”
Relying on their teammates is exactly what the Seminoles have done this year. The Seminoles have earned two team championships (at the Jacksonville Classic in the fall and the Florida State Match-Up in the spring) and three runner-up finishes at the Jim West Challenge, the Cardinal Cup and at the Florida Challenge. In six events so far this year, Florida State is enjoying a five-match streak of finishing in either first or second in the team standings and has finished out of the top two only once since the fall season began in September.
Individually, it’s a similar story.
The Seminoles have claimed three individual championships, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes and placed each of the five members of their lineup in the top 15 at the Florida State match-up. Collectively, they’ve posted 13 below-par rounds and seven below-par tournament scores. In winning the Jacksonville Classic, the Seminoles played their first round with a 14-under par score of 274 and have played six team rounds below par during the fall and spring seasons. The Seminoles finished with two of their three rounds below par.
Florida State is the second-highest ranked team in the ACC (behind only second-ranked Duke), is one of 11 teams in the Golfstat Top 25 with multiple team victories and is tied with Duke and Notre Dame for the most team championships among the 11 women’s golf playing schools in the ACC.
“The girls are working hard and their improvement is displayed in the results they are achieving,” said sixth-year head coach Amy Bond. “As a group this team has an incredible desire to achieve outstanding results in every task they attempt.
“They all want to be successful in the classroom and they achieved a team GPA of 3.48 during the fall semester. They want to successful in the weight room and none of them have missed a workout this semester. They all want to be successful on the course and they are earning great results – results that have helped us move in to the top 20 in the rankings.”
For Bond, who has led the Seminoles into the NCAA Championships in each of her first five seasons as the head coach at her alma mater, achieving great results is all about following a process she believes will make the Seminoles a national title contender on an annual basis.
“We teach our girls to stay in the moment, to not let any one moment become bigger than any other,” said Bond. “If we stay the course, prepare to play well in each event and make our share of putts, we feel we can continue to move up in the national rankings.”
The Seminoles continue their process this weekend as they travel to play in in Gainesville and the highly regarded Gator Invitational. Florida State played well in the Gator with a second place finish in 2011 and third place finishes in in 2012 and 2015. The Seminoles are one of only eight teams in the 43-year history of the event to have won multiple team championships.
Junior Lydia Gumm, who finished in fourth place in the individual standings at the 2015 Gator and who will play for the course for the third time as a Seminole, has fond memories of the course.
“The course at the University of Florida is awesome,” said Gumm. “I am excited to play the course again. The course fits my game well. The main thing for me is I am playing pain free and am lucky to be surrounded by such a great group of teammates. This spring has been a blast so far and I am looking forward to seeing what we can do the rest of this season.”
Florida State, the third highest ranked team in the field, will face a formidable field at the Gator including No. 8 Florida, No. 10 Kent State, No. 27 Oregon, No. 28 NC State and No. 34 SMU. Including the Seminoles, a total of seven top-50 teams will travel to Gainesville to play on the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
“All of the players on our team have a lot of confidence right now,” said Bond. “Practices have been going really well and the players have taken ownership of everything they are doing. The course at Florida is very similar to our home course at Florida State. We just have to get better each day. So far that is what they are doing.”
Following a practice round on Friday, the Seminoles will play 36 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday to determine a team and individual champion. The Seminoles play with Florida and Kent State (the three highest-ranked teams in the field) beginning at 8:15 off of holes 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the first round and will play with the Golden Flashes and the Gators again in the Saturday’s second round. The third and final round (also a shotgun start) will begin at 8:15 on Sunday.
“If we can go into Gainesville, stay in the moment, do what we are good at and control what we can control, I think it can be a good weekend.”