TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The sport of golf is often times as unpredictable as the path of a hurricane. You’d like to think you have every putt lined up to drop into the hole for a birdie. You’d also like to think that weather forecasters could tell you exactly what direction a storm will travel, when it will make landfall and when it will move out into the ocean. But the sport of golf is as hard as predicting the path of a hurricane – something the No. 2 Florida State women’s golf team is challenged with this week as it prepares to travel to play in the Jim West Challenge on the Fazio Course at the Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas.
The Seminoles are the highest ranked of the 15 teams and are one of three ACC teams in the event along with Miami (Fla.) and Notre Dame.
As Hurricane Matthew challenges the residents of the state of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and further up along the eastern seaboard of the United States, the Seminoles have the task of preparing for another difficult field and a tough golf course.
“We have started the fall season like we hoped we would,” said head coach Amy Bond. “All of the girls worked very hard over the summer and their hard work is beginning to pay off. Golf is a humbling sport, and just like the path of a hurricane, the direction of your golf game can change at any time, so we need to continuously prepare.”
Florida State has played extremely well in its first two events of the season with a team championship at the season-opening Schooner Fall Classic and a fourth-place finish at last week’s Cougar Fall Classic. The Seminoles have carded six consecutive below par team scores and are a cumulative total of 32 strokes under par in their first two events.
The Seminoles have done an outstanding job of taking what the courses in the first two events have given them and fighting their way through some tough conditions. The Seminoles battled weather and 36 holes on the first day to claim the Schooner Classic. At the Cougar Classic, the Seminoles found themselves in eighth place after the first round before finishing fourth in the final standings.
“Each of our players continues to refine their games with each practice and each competitive round of golf they play,” said Bond. “Our players all work hard at getting better each day. They are good golfers and hard workers who want to continuously improve and that’s all we can ask for as coaches.”
With two events remaining on their fall schedule, each of the Seminoles is excited about working hard, improving and setting themselves up for a prosperous spring season.
“This is going to be a tough event because it not easy playing tournaments in back to back to back weeks,” said senior Lydia Gumm. “But we have all prepared well and are excited to see what we can do. We all want to get better each week and see where our improvement takes us.”
The teams in the Jim West Challenge will play 36 holes on Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m. before finishing the event on Monday with a final set of 18 holes. The format marks the second time this fall the Seminoles will play 36 holes on the first day before finishing the event with the customary 18 holes.
“We have worked on playing in wind and improving on knockdown shots in practice this week because we are expecting more wind this weekend,” said Bond. “We have also had the girls work on chipping and putting because your short game is really where you are going to score.”
Bond has also emphasized plenty of rest for her lineup which will again consist of: seniors Gumm and Matilda Castren, junior sisters Kim and Morgane Metraux and freshman Amanda Doherty. The Seminoles have utilized the same lineup in both of their first two events of the season in events that have been played over the course of three consecutive weekends.
“Truthfully, after we got back late Tuesday night, we emphasized rest for each of the players,” said Bond. “We planned our schedule with tournaments on three consecutive weekends to prepare ourselves for where we want to be later in the season. It’s not going to be easy to play three consecutive weekends but we will be better for having played this schedule in the spring.”
In addition to paying strict attention to her players’ well-being, Bond is also keeping a keen eye on Hurricane Matthew. By Thursday afternoon, the raging category 4 storm had already forced the postponement of a number of college football games on Saturday, moved the Georgia at South Carolina game to Sunday and delayed the Seminole football teams’ travel to Miami for their annual grudge match against the aptly named Hurricanes.
“The hurricane is something we are absolutely paying attention to,” said Bond. “We are watching its paths not only for the safety of our student-athletes but for everybody in its path.”