TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Amy Bond, the head coach of the nationally-ranked Florida State women’s golf team, wants her team to get used to playing in the final group on the final day of each of their tournaments. That way, the Seminoles will more often than not be in contention for the team championship as they finish out their events.
With two team championships (at the Jacksonville Fall Classic and the Florida State Match-Up) and seven top-five team finishes in nine events this year, the Seminoles are getting used to playing in the final group on the final day of an event. Florida State has played in the final group on the final day in six of its first nine matches of the year, and with the postseason quickly approaching, Bond enjoys teeing off as one of the leaders.
“Certainly I want our team to be in contention to win every event we play,” Bond said. “I think we are beginning to understand what it takes to put ourselves in that position during the first two rounds of every event. We need to continue to learn what it takes to not only put ourselves in position to win, but we need understand what it takes to finish an event as the champions.”
Bond and her team will have another chance to continue their learning curve when the Seminoles begin play at the power-packed Bryan National Collegiate on Friday. The event, which is annually one of the top events on the women’s schedule, plays host to 10 of the nation’s top-50 ranked teams including the No. 20-ranked Seminoles, No, 21 Virginia, No. 27 NC State, No. 31 South Carolina, No. 37 Notre Dame and No. 39 Miami (Fla.). As the highest ranked of the six ranked teams representing the ACC in the field of 16 teams, Bond also has an eye on the ACC Championships in mid-April.
The Bryan National Collegiate will be played on the Bryan Park Champions Course in Browns Summit, N.C. – a par-72, 6,386-yard layout that each Seminole playing in the event is familiar with. Each member of the Seminoles’ lineup — Matilda Castren (twice with two top-10 finishes), Lydia Gumm (once), Kayla Jones (once), Kim Metraux (once), Morgane Metraux (once) – has played in the Bryan National at least once with Castren leading the Seminoles to a pair of top five finishes in each of the last two seasons. The Seminoles most recently won the team championship in the event in 2010.
“Playing with the leaders with an opportunity to win a championship on the final day takes some getting used to,” Bond said. “It is a pressure that I want our girls to experience. It is a pressure I want them to feel just like playing from the middle of the pack, playing under tough weather conditions and playing against teams ranked in the top 10 and top five in the country. Those are the positions we want to be in every week, positions that will help us break through and win championships.”
Winning championships is what Bond and the Seminoles want to do at this time of the season. The Bryan National Collegiate is the Seminoles’ final regular season event before travelling to play in the ACC and NCAA regionals and championships.
“We are all working towards the same goals as teammates,” Jones said. “We have all worked really hard on identifying our weaknesses, which is not easy to do as a competitor. By improving our individual weaknesses and continuing to work on our strengths we feel that we will become a better team by becoming better individual golfers.”
Jones enters the Bryan National Collegiate with a career-low 74.36-stroke average and two top-15 individual finishes this year. She finished in 12th place in the individual standings in helping Florida State to the team championship at the Florida State Match-Up in February. Jones was also Florida State’s leading individual finisher at the 3M Lady Jaguar Invitational in early March.
Sophomore Morgane Metraux, who finished in a tie for second place in the individual standings at last week’s Briar’s Creek Invitational, agrees with Jones.
“It’s great to see all of my teammates do well in tournaments and to see us in the national rankings,” Metraux said. “But we all need to continue working hard to achieve our goals. Our goal – individually and as a team – is to make it to nationals. To do that we all need to be at the top of our games. Because we are all working so hard we are headed in the right direction.”
Metraux has earned two top-five finishes in the last three events (tied for third at the Gator Invitational and tied for second at Briar’s Creek) and is averaging a career-low 73.67 strokes per round this year. She has cut more the one full stroke from her average this season as compared to her freshman year.
Bond points out that the Seminoles will utilize the same lineup at the Bryan National for the third consecutive event – a strong sign of consistency for a team without a senior on its roster.
“The competition for playing time has been incredible,” Bond said. “I’ve said this all along that I will be comfortable with any lineup that we take to any event because all of our girls are improving as individuals and making us better as a team.
“This group, though, is getting used to playing as leaders and that’s the position I want us to be in for the rest of the season.”