TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The No. 3-ranked Florida State women’s golf team begins play in the 29th Annual ACC Championships at the Reserve Golf Club at Pawley’s Island, S.C., in a position they have been working for since practice began in August. The Seminoles are the top-ranked team in the 12-team tournament, have earned the lowest team-stroke average and have won more team championships (six) than any team in the tradition-rich league.
Many consider Florida State the favorite to win its first ACC Championship in the sport of women’s golf when play begins on Thursday.
Though confident in her group of five standout golfers (seniors Matilda Castren and Lydia Gumm, junior sisters Kim and Morgane Metraux and freshman Amanda Doherty) Seminole head coach Amy Bond is cautiously optimistic entering the event.
“We are looking forward to the ACC Championships and have been positioning ourselves for this event all season long,” said Bond, who will lead the Seminole into the event for the seventh time. “The history of this tournament illustrates how strong this conference has been for so long in women’s golf. Duke has won this event so many times (19) and they are always a great team this time of the year. Wake Forest and North Carolina have won championships and Virginia has won the title in both of the last two seasons. We have to prove ourselves on this stage, and we know that.”
Florida State has proven itself all year long and Bond hopes that the Seminoles’ stellar play continues into the postseason. The Seminoles began the season with a win in their first event (The Schooner Fall Classic) and have kept their foot on the gas ever since. Following their win in the Schooner, the Seminoles have earned victories at the Jim West Challenge, the Cardinal Cup, the Florida State Match-Up, the Dickson Invitational and the Clemson Invitational. Florida State closed its regular season with a 3-2 match-play victory over No. 6 Florida.
In nine matches, Florida State has won six team championships and has not finished lower than fourth in any event. The Seminoles are an incredible 98 strokes under par for the year and 53 strokes under par in five events this spring. Florida State leads the ACC and the nation with six team victories.
Entering the ACC Championships, the Seminoles are averaging an ACC low and team-record 282.8 strokes per round – better by more than five strokes per round than any other team in the league. Duke, which enters the tournament ranked No. 7, nationally averages 287.9 strokes in winning three tournament championships – including a win the power-packed LSU Tiger Classic and a win over Northwestern in match-play.
“We are all excited to get to the ACC Championships,” said Gumm, the Seminoles’ team captain. “We all have been looking forward to this time of the year to have the opportunity to show how hard we have worked all year long.”
Gumm is also excited for the change in venue for the first time during her career and for the first time since 2008.
“I think it’s really cool to go to a new course,” said Gumm. “I have loved playing Sedgefeld and will miss playing there but we are excited to play this new course.”
Ranked No. 52 nationally, Gumm is one five Seminoles ranked among the top 100 players in the country. Two Seminoles – Castren at No. 6 and Morgan Metraux at No. 10 – make Florida State one of only two teams in the nation with multiple players ranked in the top 10 nationally. With Castren, Morgane Metraux and Gumm in the top 60, Kim Metraux ranked No. 81 and freshman Amanda Doherty at No. 95, Florida State is the only team in the nation with each member of its line-up ranked in the nation’s top 100.
Bond is quick to point out that the Golfstat Cup individual national rankings include five ACC players among the nation’s top 15 players, including the No. 1 player in the country – Duke’s Leona Maguire.
There are four ACC teams (Florida State, Duke, Wake Forest and Miami) with at least one player ranked in the top 15 in the country,” said Bond. “That shows just how tough this league is and why any team can win the championship this weekend.”
Castren, Florida State’s all-time leader in career victories with seven, agrees with Bond.
The ACC is an incredible league for women’s golf,” said Castren. “We are excited that the ACC Championships are here and that we will play in the lead group on the first day. It’s been one of our goals all season to be in the final group on the third day and be in a position to win an ACC championship for Coach Bond and our university. It would be amazing to be on the team that won the first ACC Championship in school history.”
Castren is one of nine ACC golfers who has won an individual championship this year. With victories at the Jim West Challenge and the Clemson Invitational, she is one of five ACC golfers to win multiple events this year. Castren is a total of minus-32 strokes under par for the year and has finished seven of nine events blow par.
Entering the 2017 ACC Championships, Bond knows the numbers. She is confident in her players and knows they have worked hard to get to this point in the season.
“We are at the point in the season that we have all prepared for,” said Bond. “From here on out, as it has been all season long, we have to trust the principles we have lived by all year long. We have to stay in the moment, play each hole with confidence and play for each other. Each of the five girls has done an amazing job at each of those aspects every day they have come to the course.
“Because of the way we have prepared, I like our chances.”