Tallahassee, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State Head Coach Amy Bond and her team were a bit disappointed the last time the Seminoles walked off of the course at the conclusion of the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. The players had performed well without the benefit of a practice round, the course was soaked from continuous rain that blanketed the Southern California area during the event but the Seminoles’ finish wasn’t what Bond or the team had hoped for in their spring season opener. Then again, it was early February and early disappointments can be a great motivation.
Fast-forward more than one month later and Bond can’t wait for her team to get on the course at the Eighth Annual Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at the Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C. The event is scheduled for three rounds and 54 holes over three days beginning Friday, March 8 and running through the weekend.
“We have worked really hard since the end of the Northrop Grumman, and we are looking at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate as a second beginning to our season,” said Bond. “From here on in where are going to be on a regular schedule throughout the rest of the regular season and into the postseason. Our girls really worked hard during the last month and are ready to play in another top-tier tournament.”
Annually considered to be one of the nation’s top events, this year’s Darius Rucker is one of the signature events in women’s golf again this season.
No. 16 Florida State is joined by No. 3 Duke, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 7 Arkansas, No. 11 Auburn, No. 12 (tied) South Carolina, No. 12 (tied) Wake Forest, No. 14 Virginia, No. 15 Northwestern, No. 20 Furman, No. 21 Alabama, Baylor, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina and Oklahoma State University in the 17-team field.
“The field includes 10 of the top 15 teams in the latest WGCA poll,” said Bond. “It’s a tournament that we have really worked hard to get into because it puts every member of our team into an ultra-competitive environment. It’s the type of field and class of individual competitors that our players are comfortable playing with and against. We know that our girls are up for the challenge of playing in this event.”
To illustrate the competitiveness of the field, four of the top six teams (UCLA, Alabama, Northwestern and Duke) as well as eight of the top 15 finishers at the 2108 NCAA Championship Finals will compete for the team championship. Included in that list of teams is Florida State which finished in a tied for 12thplace at the 2018 NCAA Championship – it’s second best NCAA national finish in school history.
“We definitely feel that we belong in this event and that we will put ourselves in position to compete for and win a championship,” said Bond. “Our hard work made our team one of the top programs in the nation.”
Freshman Frida Kinhult, one of four amateurs chosen to play in the 2019 ANAInspiration, agrees with Bond.
“It’s fun to compete and it will be very nice to get going again,” said freshman Friday Kinhult. “It’s been over a month since we competed at the Northrop Grumman and I feel like the season gets started from here. This weekend is going to be a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to getting our schedule going after having such a long period between events. There are a lot of possibilities ahead of this team, and we are excited to play in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.”
Kinhult, who owns a team-leading 69.36 stroke average and five top-10 individual finishes in the first five events of her collegiate career, is the top ranked international woman on the first release of the Arnold Palmer Cup rankings of the spring 2019 season. She enters the Darius Rucker ranked fourth nationally by Golfstat among all NCAA Division I players.
Junior Amanda Doherty, who will compete in the Inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in April with teammate Beatrice Wallin, is also excited to play in one of the top events in all of collegiate golf.
“It’s always exciting to play in an event with such a strong field,” said Doherty. “I think this is a great opportunity to play against the best teams in the country, so we can see what we are made of as a team. Playing in this event also gives us an idea on when we need to work on in order to best prepare for postseason play.”
Doherty is ranked second in school history with a 73.12 scoring average in 29 career events. She enters this weekend’s event looking to win her first career individual championship and earn her 10th career top-10 finish.
Kinhult and Doherty will be joined in the Seminoles’ lineup by Wallin, Puk Lyng Thomson and Amelia Williamson.
The Seminoles will get started on the course Friday after attending a concert by Darius Rucker on Thursday night.
“To be invited to play in this event is great for our program,” said Bond. “Not only is there an incredible field and played on an unbelievable course, but we all get treated to a great night and a great concert before the competition begins. We are all really looking forward to getting to Hilton Head and seeing everything the committee has in store for us.”