With two team titles and eight top five team finishes in its first 10 events of the 2015-16 fall and spring seasons, the Florida State women’s golf team has every reason to be as confident as it has ever been heading into the 2016 ACC Championships. The 12-team event takes place this weekend at the Sedgefield Golf and Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., and the Seminoles are one of the favorites to take home their first ACC championship in school history.
The Seminoles, who are ranked 20th nationally by Golfstat, have been a fixture in the national rankings this year and are the third highest ranked team in the ACC entering the event. Duke is ranked fifth and Virginia is ranked 18th with seven of the remaining nine conference teams ranked within the nation’s top 50. With their national ranking in hand, Florida State will tee off as part of the lead group with the Blue Devils and Cavaliers beginning at 10:30 on Friday morning.
It’s a position Seminole head coach Amy Bond relishes.
“Our girls have worked really hard to get into this position,” Bond said. “It’s very gratifying that we have the opportunity to be in the lead group in the first round. But that’s all that is promised to us – a spot in the top group on the first day. From there it’s up to us and how we play in the first and second rounds to see if we can stay among the lead group and give ourselves a chance to win a championship. It’s a position we are excited to be in.”
It’s also a position Florida State has not been in for quite some time. The Seminoles are playing for their first ever ACC Championship after finishing in a tie for third place in the team standings in 2015. Since joining the league in 1992, the Seminoles have finished in second place three times with their most recent runner-up finish in 1999 – when Bond was a senior and the Seminoles’ team captain.
Bond remembers her senior season very well.
She led the team in stroke average, earned four top 10 finishes, led the Seminoles in seven different events and finished in a tie for sixth place in the individual standings at the ACC Championships. The Seminoles had three players finish in the top 10 of the individual standings at the ACC Championships and finished second in the team standings by 12 strokes behind Duke.
“It’s going to take a great effort to win the ACC Championship,” Bond said. “Duke has won 20 of the 24 ACC championships and they deserve to have the ranking they have. They have been the No. 1 team this season. Virginia is playing as well as they have played all year long and the Cavaliers won the ACC Championship last season by 26 strokes. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us.”
Florida State travels to the ACC Championship with a lineup that features juniors Matilda Castren and Lydia Gumm and sophomores Kayla Jones along with sisters Kim and Morgane Metraux. It is the same lineup the Seminoles utilized in their last three events of the regular season and in their team victory at the Florida State Match-Up in February.
Florida State enters the 2016 ACC Championship with the second best team stroke average (291.3) and two of the top five golfers by stroke average (Kim Metraux and Castren) in the ACC statistics. The Seminoles’ stroke average is just over two strokes per round behind Duke (289.7) and is nearly three strokes ahead of Virginia (295.2). Notre Dame (294.5) and Louisville (295.0) are ranked second and third, respectively, in the ACC in team stroke average and 37th and 39th in the national rankings. Also ranked in the nation’s top 50 are Miami (40th), Wake Forest (45th), North Carolina (46th) and Clemson (47th).
Florida State is the only team in the ACC with multiple golfers (Kim Metraux, second; Castren, third) ranked in the top five of the individual ACC statistics.
Kim Metraux, who is ranked second in the ACC with her career-low 72.30 stroke average, is approaching her first career ACC Championships appearance with great anticipation.
“We are all really looking forward to the ACC Championships,” said Metraux, who was named the ACC Golfer for the month of February. “We have worked really hard this semester and we have prepared ourselves to play our best golf in this event. We feel that if we play our best golf we will give ourselves the chance to play for a title. Our goal is to be in contention to have a chance to win the championship on Sunday.”
Metraux has played the best golf of her career this spring with three top 10 finishes including a career-best tied for second place finish at the Florida State Match-Up.
Castren, who earned All-ACC and All-American honors as a freshman, is also playing the best golf of the season and the postseason begins. She finished in a tie for second in the individual standings at last week’s Bryan National Collegiate and finished in a tie for first (with teammate and classmate Lydia Gumm) at the spring season opening Florida Challenge.
“We are very confident going in to the ACC’s,” Castren said. “The Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro was a great event for us last week. We are going to see many of the same teams with very similar conditions at the ACC Championships. We didn’t bring our “A” game last week and we finished third. Our play at the Bryan National only made us hungrier to reach our goals at ACC’s.”
Castren, who is ranked third in the ACC with a 72.52 strove average, will make her third career ACC Championships appearance this weekend. She finished in a tie for ninth place as a freshman and in a tie for 11th place as a sophomore.
“We have all been working hard to reach our goals,” Castren said. “From the start of the year in August, winning ACC’s has been one of our goals. It is a goal we are confident we can reach.”
Bond is very confident in her team.
“We are playing as well as we have played all season at the right time of the year,” Bond said. “We have played among the leaders in just about all of our tournaments this year. The girls have worked hard and they are ready for this event.”
The entire 12-term field will tee off hole No. 1 beginning at 8:00 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The field will tee off from holes No. 1 and 10 beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The pairings for the first round are set while the pairings for the second and third round will be set according to results. Complete results can be found on seminoles.com at theacc.com/page/championship_w-golf_livestats.