TALLAHASSEE, Fla (seminoles.com) – The No. 20-ranked Florida State women’s golf team faces its toughest tournament field of the spring as it plays seven teams ranked in the nation’s top 50 in the 2016 Briar’s Creek Invitational at The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek on John’s Island, S.C., March 21-22, 2016. As the third-highest ranked team in the field, the Seminoles are continuing to learn how to play as one of the nation’s hunted teams, as their play has earned them a spot in collegiate golf top 20.
Florida State is ranked No. 20 by Golfstat and has been ranked as high as 17thnationally this season.
“Our girls like the position they are in as we begin play in the Briar’s Creek Invitational,” head coach Amy Bond said. “They got a taste of what’s it like to play when you are favored to win an event. For the most part, each of them embraced the situation (in last weekend’s 3M Lady Jaguar Invitational) and each of them are certainly more mentally prepared to handle the pressure this week.”
Among the nationally-ranked teams in the Briar’s Creek Invitational, Florida State is ranked behind only No. 8 Florida and No. 12 Kent State and ahead of No. 26 Texas Tech, No. 30 Michigan State, No. 36 Louisville, No. 37 East Carolina and No. 47 Clemson. The Seminoles have seven wins over teams ranked in the top-25 and finished 11 strokes ahead of Kent State at the Gator Women’s Invitational.
“We are building to the most exciting part of the season in collegiate golf,” Bond said. “Basketball has their March Madness which captivates the nation. In golf we have April and May Madness as our tournaments grow closer. That’s the time of the year we are playing for right now and the more we can be successful in high profile tournaments like this one, the better prepared we will be for our version of Madness.”
Sophomore Kim Metraux, who enters the Briar’s Creek Invitational with a career low 72.05 stroke average and five top-10 finishes this year, certainly agrees with her coach.
“We have all grown closer to each other as teammates because of the great tournaments we have played in this year,” Metraux said. “The atmosphere that surrounds our team and the events we are playing in have certainly helped our results. We are having fun at practice while continuing to work hard, which says a lot of the spirit of our team.”
Metraux was named the ACC Golfer of the Month of February as she earned a tied for fifth place finish at the Florida Challenge and, in a career-best tied for second place at the Florida State Match-Up. She was a total of 3 strokes under par in those tournaments in leading the Seminoles to the team championship at the Florida State Match-Up and a runner-up finish at the Florida Challenge.
In eight events this year, the Seminoles have earned two team championships (at the Jacksonville Classic and the Florida State Match-Up) and four runner-up finishes (at the Jim West Challenge, the Cardinal Cup, the Florida Challenge and the Gator Women’s Invitational) and have not finished below seventh in any event this year. Only Florida State, Duke, Louisville and Notre Dame are ACC teams who have earned as many of two team championships this year.
With the ACC Championship just under a month away, the Seminoles are one of three ACC teams ranked in the nation’s top 20 along with No. 2 Duke and No. 21 Virginia.
Florida State will get a strong gauge of where its stands in the conference as its faces Boston College, Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech at John’s Island starting Monday. The tournament will be played over two days with a shotgun start and 36 holes on Monday (March 21) and a shotgun start and 18 holes on Tuesday (March 22) to decide the team and individual champions. Florida is the defending team champion and Miami’s Daniela Darquea won the individual championship in 2015.
“This is a new event for us,” Bond said. “It’s going to be a great measuring stick for our team because there are so many ranked opponents and ranked individual players in the field. This is one of the events we have had circled on our schedule all season long.
“What we have to do is continue to stay in the moment with each shot we take and with each hole we play,” she said. “We have to continue to learn from everything we do and every event we play in. That’s how we measure our improvement and we have been measuring up well so far this season.”
Florida State’s lineup consists of juniors Matilda Castren and Lydia Gumm and sophomores Kim and Morgane Metraux and Kayla Jones – a lineup it has been successful with this season.
The Seminoles finished as the champions of the Florida State Match-Up and finished in second place at the Cardinal Cup at the University of Louisville with those five players in their lineup.
“Any member of our team can play in the starting lineup,” said Bond. “We are comfortable with these girls right now but the competition for spots has been so intense and I think that has been great for our team chemistry. All of the girls know they can be successful on the course and all of the girls now they can and have contributed to the success we have achieved this year.”
With college basketball and March Madness captivating the nation for the next two weeks, the nationally-ranked Florida State women’s golf team hopes to be a part of the madness – college golf style – in April and May. The Seminoles’ march to the madness continues at the Briar’s Creek Invitational.