LECANTO, Fla. (seminoles.com) — For the No. 3 ranked Florida State women’s golf team, it’s all about the hard work that has gone into achieving the highest national ranking in school history. It’s all about its three victories in four events during the fall season. It’s all about three of its players ranked among the nation’s top golfers.
For seventh-year head coach Amy Bond, it’s about more than the wins and the national rankings.
For Bond It’s all about the effort it has taken to achieve the lofty national team and individual rankings with that effort getting its first test of the spring at the Florida Challenge on January 30. The event, which has expanded to 11 teams, will be played at the Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, Fla., and serves as the tee-off for the 2017 spring golf season.
“We were all very pleased with our success during the fall season,” said Bond. “The aspect of our team that makes me the proudest as their coach, is how hard each member of our team has worked since the end of the fall season. Our players made it their mission to prepare harder for this season than they did for the fall season.”
As the Seminoles prepare to open the spring season at the Florida Challenge, they do so as the highest ranked team in the ACC – a group of teams that is generally considered to be the top golf women’s golf conference in the nation. They also do so with the confidence earned during the fall season when they won team championships at the Schooner Fall Classic, the Jim West Challenge and the Cardinal Cup.
“We are all so excited to start the spring season,” said senior Lydia Gumm. “We worked really hard in the off season and we’re ready to compete again. We had a really good fall and we’re ready to build off of that success this spring.”
Florida State is joined by UCF, Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Jacksonville, Miami, North Florida, Seminole State College, USF and Stetson in the fifth edition of the Florida Challenge. The Seminoles finished in second place in the team standings with Gumm and fellow senior Matilda Castren finishing tied for first place in the individual standings in 2016.
For Gumm, the first place finish was the first of her career.
“We all have to approach the Florida Challenge with the same intensity as we do every tournament on our schedule,” said Gumm. “We all have to stay in the moment and play one shot at a time. That is the mentality that has got us here and there is no reason to change our approach now.”
Bond is excited to get the season off with a strong start.
“The Florida Challenge is becoming our traditional first event of the spring season,” said Bond. “It’s a great tournament full of strong teams which forces us to play good golf at the start of our season. This tournament gives our team a starting point where we have to be at our best from the first tee. The girls all know this is a strong event and that has made them work even harder to prepare for the beginning of the season.”
Castren, who will play in the Florida Challenge for the fourth time in her career agrees with Bond.
“The Florida Challenge is a perfect way to begin our season every year,” said Castren who begins the spring season ranked 11th national in the individual rankings by GolfStat. “One of the great things about this event is that we have to prepare like it’s a postseason tournament. The hard work that goes into the preparation for this tournament and for the start of the season is now part of what we do. We take our preparation seriously; our preparation gets us ready to play in all of our events.”
Castren is Florida State’s career leader with a 72.40 stroke average and became the Seminoles’ all-time leader in career wins with six with her individual championship at the Jim West Challenge during the fall season.
“We are all very excited about the beginning of the spring season,” said Castren. “We all worked very hard during the off season and are very excited to get the season going again. We have a different feeling this season because of the confidence we gained during the fall season. We all feel that we, collectively, can do some very special things on the course.”
The Seminoles will play with a starting lineup of Castren, Gumm, Morgane Metraux, Kayla Jones and Amanda Doherty along with individual competitors Kim Metraux and Anna Sophia Böhmer.
“I’m really proud of all of the girls because they have worked so hard to achieve the success they enjoyed this fall,” said Bond. “We played really well in first four tournaments of the year. We have continued to improve since then as individual golfers and as a team. I am really looking forward to seeing our continued improvement this spring.”
For the Seminoles to continue to improve on their national position it’s their hard work that is going to lead to their continued success.
Following the Florida Challenge, the Seminoles will play host to the jewel of their spring schedule – the Florida State Match-Up – at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course, Feb. 10-12.