OPELIKA, Ala. (Seminoles.com) – Immediately after winning the powerhouse Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in record-setting fashion, Seminole Head Coach Amy Bond wanted to drive straight to the Saugahatchee Country Club to begin play in the Evans Derby Experience hosted by Auburn University. Bond wanted to jump on Interstate 16, point the Seminoles’ team van west and tee-off immediately. As in Sunday night immediately.
No. 11 Florida State won the Darius Rucker with a tournament-record two under par score of 850. Florida State became the first time in the eight-year history of the tournament to finish under par for the three-round event. Individually, freshman Frida Kinhult won her second career individual championship with a record score of nine under par 214.
Florida State became the first team, and Kinhult the first player, to finish with under par scores in winning the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate for the ninth team championship under Head Coach Amy Bond at Florida State.
With their first win of the season, Florida State vaulted to No. 11 in the national team rankings by the WGCA and Kinhult became the No. 1 ranked individual golfer in the Golfweek rankings.
With their new national rankings well documented, the Seminoles begin play against another formidable field in the Evans Derby Experience.
The 14-team field at the Evans Derby includes No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Duke, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 13 Auburn, No. 14 Kent State, No. 18 Alabama, No. 22 Clemson, Baylor, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
“Our team is very confident entering the Evans Derby Experience,” said Seminole Head Coach Amy Bond. “I was very proud of how each of the girls approached the Darius Rucker. They stayed within our game plan, played each moment as it presented itself and played really, really good golf.”
With that being said, Bond knows that to stay in the moment, the Seminoles have to put last week’s win behind them and focus on the task at hand: three rounds and 54 holes on the par 72, 6,250-yard course at the Saugahatchee Country Club. Play begins Saturday and runs through Monday.
“We all know that every event and every course is different; but I like the mindset of our girls,” said Bond. “They are practicing well every day they come to the course with a confident mindset.”
The Seminoles will play with the same lineup for their third consecutive spring tournament. It’s a lineup that consists of junior All-American Amanda Doherty along with four freshmen: Kinhult, Puk Lyng Thomsen, Beatrice Wallin and Amelia Williamson. A fifth freshman, Caroline Hodge, will play in her first career event as an individual competitor.
Kinhult, who is the first player in school history to finish in the top-10 of her first six tournaments, will play for her Seminole freshman record of three individual titles as play in the Evans Derby begins Friday.
“Were all very excited for the Auburn tournament,” said Kinhult. “We’ve had a great combination of practice and playing this week and we are all ready to play against another tough field. Following our win last week at the Darius Rucker, everyone has been excited, motivated and working hard to improve.”
Kinhult enters the Evans Derby Experience with a 69.29 stroke average – the best in the nation and currently the best in school history. She was recently selected to play for the international team at the Arnold Palmer Cup at the Alotian Club in Roland, Ark., June 7-9, 2019. She will also play in the ANA Inspiration Championship April 4-7 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Following the Evans Derby Experience, both Doherty and Wallin will play in the Inaugural Augusta National Women’s Championship at the famed Augusta National Golf Club.
“This is a very exciting time for our program,” said Bond. “We have to focus on the task at hand and that’s playing well in this event. Each of our girls has worked hard to prepare this week. We are looking forward to playing well in another top-flight event.”