TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The No. 13 Florida State Women’s Golf team has played in the Jim West Challenge in San Marcos, Tex., three times. The Seminoles won the team championship in 2017 and have never finished lower than second, with runner-up finishes coming in 2016 and 2018. The team championship in 2017 is one of 11 team championships the Seminoles have earned under Head Coach Amy Bond.
“We have gained a bit of familiarity on the Kissing Tree Course,” said Bond. “This is a tournament we enjoy playing in because of the great competition and how well the coaches at Texas State and the organizers treat the players. It’s also an opportunity to go west and play on a course that will begin to get us ready for the spring season. It’s a beautiful, but challenging, course that we have been able to have success playing.”
As familiar as she is with the course, Bond and the Seminoles will play the 54-hole tournament with an unfamiliar lineup when it begins Sunday.
Because of their participation in Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament (Q School) two of the Seminoles’ standouts – senior Amanda Doherty and All-American Frida Kinhult – will not play in Florida State’s lineup at the Jim West. For Doherty, it is the first time she has missed playing in an event for the Seminoles during her career.
Florida State’s lineup, though, will not lack for experience.
The Seminoles’ lineup at the Jim West will includes one junior (Kathleen Sumner), three sophomores (Puk Lyng Thomsen, Beatrice Wallin and Amelia Williamson) and one freshman (Elle Johnson). Led by Sumner’s 16 career events, the quintet has played in a cumulative total of 50 events including two ACC Championships, two NCAA Regional Championships and both of the last two NCAA Championship finals.
“We are really excited to coach this group this weekend,” said Bond. “This group is talented, experienced, and ready to play. For all five of the golfers, it’s a great opportunity to step up as a leader. Our coaching staff believes in each of them and we know they have all put in the work to be successful in this event.”
Sumner, who will compete in the Jim West Challenge for the second time in her career, is especially excited to get back to San Marcos and back on the course for the Seminoles.
“I’m excited to play in the Jim West Challenge this week,” said Sumner. “It was a really fun experience last year and I’m confident that we can shoot low numbers this year as well.”
Sumner was a member of the Florida State lineup in 2018 at this tournament when it finished just one stroke behind TCU in the final team standings. In 2018, the Seminoles closed a five stroke deficit to just one with the second best team score in the final round to finish as the runners-up.
“The course is a bit hilly and it was windy last year,” said Sumner on the layout of the course. “But if we stay disciplined and make smart choices, we can all go low.”
Thomsen, Wallin and Williamson have been constants in Florida State’s lineup since the beginning of spring 2018 season — a period of incredible consistency for the Seminoles. Since the beginning of the spring 2018 season, Florida State has earned two victories (at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate and the Evans Derby Experience), two runner-up placings and six top-10 finishes. Included in that streak are second place finishes in the ACC Championship and the NCAA Auburn Regional and a 12th place finish at the NCAA Championship Finals.
“The leadership we are getting from our sophomore class is tremendous,” said Bond. “They are a great group that plays well together. I’m looking forward to seeing how they play without Amanda and Frida in the lineup. We really want to see who is going to step up in their absence this week.”
Johnson, an accomplished junior golfer, makes her debut as a Seminole as she begins to make her mark on the program she will call home for the next four years.
“I am really excited for the opportunity to play in a collegiate event,” said Johnson. “I am confident going into the weekend.”
Beginning with the Jim West Challenge, the Seminoles will play on consecutive weekends for the first of two times this year. Following the Jim West, Florida State will close its four-match fall schedule at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. (Oct. 25-27).
For Bond the competition on back-to-back weekends will get her that much closer to knowing more about her team heading into the spring season.
“These next two weeks are very important to our team moving into the spring,” said Bond. “We are going to be on the run, traveling to two different regions of the country and spending a lot of quality time together. We’re hoping to have a great start this weekend, have each of the girl’s play well and continue to get better.”