Florida State University brought out the best in Puk Lyng Thomsen.
She excelled as a member of the nationally-ranked Florida State women’s golf team during two of the best seasons in school history, as she helped the Seminoles win a pair of team championships, earn a second-place finish in the 2019 ACC Championships, a second-place finish at the NCAA Auburn regional championship and a 12th-place finish in the 2019 NCAA Championship Finals.
She also excelled academically, as she as she was named to the 2019 All-America Scholar Athlete Team by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, along with the ACC Academic Honor Roll as a freshman. She was named to the Dean’s List in the fall of 2019 – a designation for students who earn a grade-point average of 3.5 or better in a semester.
For Thomsen, success comes naturally.
“I have been always been very competitive,” she said. “My competitive spirit has definitely helped me aim high academically. I enjoy the process of learning and developing in school, as well as in golf.”
Thomsen certainly learned and developed both academically and athletically during her two-year career as a Seminole.
She played in 16 events and played her best golf at the fall 2019 Jim West Challenge, where she carded a career-low for a single round (67), her career-low for a three-round tournament score (217) and her career-best score vs. par (4-under).
Thomsen earned three top-20 finishes as a freshman at Florida State, including a career-best tie for eighth at the 2019 ACC Championship. Her best season came during the fall of 2019, when she averaged a career-low 72.11 strokes per round.
But it wasn’t what she learned on the golf course that made Thomsen the person she is today.
”During my time at Florida State, I learned more about the person I want to be and represent, who I am and what I like to do,” said Thomsen. “I was away for a long time from my home in Denmark, that has made it easier for me to explore, accept and enjoy myself and find friends for lifetime. Being far away from home has made me independent, made me more confident and helped me take responsibility for my goals and do it for myself.”
Thomsen was one of five heralded recruits in head coach Amy Bond’s best-ever recruiting class that arrived on campus in September of 2018. She was a big part of a star-studded group of freshmen that included Frida Kinhult, Caroline Hodge, Beatrice Wallin and Amelia Williamson. The group immediately became the talk of collegiate women’s golf, as they all helped Florida State earn three top-five team finishes in their first fall on campus.
“More than the results we had, the things that helped us when we first came to Florida State were our team spirit, sharing the competitiveness and our inner will-power to do well and win,” said Thomsen. “The most important aspects were our practice habits and working on the development that helped make us better golf players and a better team. I feel we inspired each other with our passion for golf and competitiveness during everyday practice.”
The results continued to skyrocket for the Seminoles, with team victories at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate and Evans Derby Experience at Auburn in the spring of 2019. By the middle of the 2019 spring season, the Seminoles were a fixture in the top-10 of the national rankings – and finished the season ranked No. 9.
Thomsen will always remember fondly the Seminoles’ win at the Evans Derby Experience because of what they had learned as a group during their first collegiate seasons.
“I remember how well we supported each other and how everybody stepped in when needed,” Thomsen said. “When all five players step in, the team scores get better and the result is success. This tournament we won because everybody prepared and kept fighting no matter their starting point or their ups and downs.”
With Thomsen in the lineup, Florida State tied the school-best for finishes in the ACC Championship (second) the NCAA Auburn Regional Championship (second) and finished in 12th place at the NCAA Championship Finals.
“Puk grew both as a player and as a person in her first two seasons here,” Bond said. “She is a very determined player and a passionate person. She went above and beyond every day just to be able to compete each week. Puk had high and lows as every player does, and I firmly believe she learned something new about herself every day.
She was dealt a band hand with her back injury. Not one day goes by where she doesn’t give her best. I admire that and appreciate her effort.”
Her back injury that limited her play as a sophomore, but Thomsen persevered and helped the Seminoles earn top-five team finishes at the Schooner Fall Classic, the Landfall Tradition and the IJGA Guadalajara Collegiate Invitational before the season abruptly ended due to the coronavirus.
Florida State assistant coach Matt Whall worked closely with Thomsen throughout her career as a Seminole and knows how hard she worked to improve her game – and her conditioning – each day she came to practice.
“I really feel that Puk has learned to manage her game and her time to be able to compete at a high level,” said Whall. “She has worked really hard at her mentality, physical conditioning and made some great swing changes in order to compete in qualifiers and in tournaments. Her short game, which was always very good, kept getting better and is now much more consistent. Puk’s mentality is so strong. I always felt we could rely on her to get a birdie when we needed it most.”
The entire world changed in March of 2020 with the onset of the coronavirus, which has forced every person worldwide, including Thomsen, to make incredible changes in their lives.
“The spring ended very suddenly, and, for me, it meant my FSU journey was over.” said Thomsen. “I decided then to finish my career after two years because of my back injury and felt I needed to go back home in Denmark.”
Thomsen, though, leaves Florida State with a golf bag full of memories, life lessons and lasting friendships.
“The two most valuable lessons I learned at Florida State are it’s never over, it’s never too late, hard work always pays off and that that you need to take responsibility for what you want to achieve and what you represent,” said Thomsen. “The second is that no one gets where they are going alone. Being part of the Florida State golf team has taught me about family. If it weren’t for my FSU golf family – the support from teammates, the endless caring and support from Coach Bond, Coach Whall, Coach Duck and Coach Jones – I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
Thomsen made friends for life and left quite an impression on everyone she met at Florida State.
“It’s really hard to put Puk’s and my friendship in words,” said Williamson. “We relied on and helped one other in multiple ways and I think that is what made us so close and become the best friends we are. Our friendship is one of the most honest and weird you will come across, but that’s why it is so special to me. She was my closest friend on the team, so not living with her or travelling with her will be a little strange.”
“Puk has an extremely big heart which has helped her become a great player,” said Bond. “Her experiences at FSU have opened her eyes to all of the possibilities that are given in life.”