MELBOURNE, Fla (seminoles.com) – Following a successful fall season that saw Florida State earn three top four finishes, including the team championship at the Barbara Nicklaus Cup, the Seminole Women’s Golf team opens it spring season at the 15-team Moon Invitational at the Suntree Country Club. The field features nine top 26 teams, including five in the top 10.
The field features nine top-26 teams, including five in the top 10 in the Golfweek rankings – South Carolina (3), Arkansas (4), Alabama (8), Florida (9), Virginia (10), Duke (16), Auburn (18), LSU (20), Baylor (22), Florida State (26), Augusta State, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina and UCF.
Teams will play 18 holes each day, and fans can follow the action live on www.GolfStat.com.
For Head Coach Amy Bond and her team, the Moon Invitational represents the beginning of what the Seminoles hope will be a successful season. The Seminoles will play in seven events, with two – the Florida State Match Up and the NCAA Tallahassee Regional Championship – played at the Seminole Legacy Golf Course.
“Playing in the Moon Invitational is a terrific way to begin our season,” said Bond, who is now in her 12th season as the Seminoles’ Head Coach. “With five teams ranked in the top 10 in this event, we have the opportunity to establish ourselves as one of the top teams in the nation during the first week of the season. We’ll play against many of the traditional powerhouses in our sport right out of the box. That’s the competition I want our team to play against because we feel that we are one of those top teams, and we’re ready to make a statement this weekend.”
One reason for Bond’s optimism heading into the Moon Invitational is the fierce competition that led her to pick her lineup for the season opening event. Florida State’s lineup is anchored by seniors Beatrice Wallin and Amelia Williamson and is powered by junior Elle Johnson and sophomores Charlotte Heath and Alice Hodge.
Wallin, Williamson, Heath and Hodge dominated Florida State’s lineup in 2021 in leading Florida State to the championship of the NCAA Louisville Regional Championship and to a program-best ninth place finish in the NCAA Championship. The Seminoles regional championship was the first in program history, while their ninth place finish in the national finals continued to raise the national profile of Bond’s program to where they are considered annually to be among the nation’s best and most consistent programs.
“I’ve felt throughout the early part of the spring that all of our players are locked in on the upcoming season,” said Bond. “Because of our success, both individually and as a team, all of our players have earned incredible opportunities around the world to play in the top tournaments and on the greatest courses. They have all become better golfers and because of their improvement, we will be a better team this spring.”
Among the tournaments and events that are now commonplace for Florida State’s golfers are LPGA Q-School (Wallin), the Curtis Cup (Heath), the R&A Women’s Home Internationals (Williamson), the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships (Hodge) and the Orlando International Amateur Championship (Johnson).
But this spring, says Bond, is all about the Seminoles as a team and how well they can prepare for each week and each event.
“From the day each of the players got back to campus after the holiday break, our coaching staff has noticed a different feeling among our players,” said Bond. “The seniors have a feeling of urgency and the underclassmen have followed their lead. It hasn’t been hard for us as coaches, because we have a team of players who are focused on getting better every day.”
For Wallin, who will play in the Augusta National Women’s Open for the third time this spring, the Moon Invitational is the start to her final season as a Seminole. She advanced to the final weekend of Q-School and missed earning her LPGA Tour card by just five strokes. Wallin was the fifth lowest finishing amateur in the field.
Including Wallin, the Seminoles’ lineup in the Moon Invitational includes two of the top three golfers in school history with Wallin (No. 2, 71.94 career stroke average) and Heath (No. 3, 72.48).
The collective success of the five golfers in the Seminoles’ lineup only fuels Bond’s optimism for this week’s season opening event, as well as the entire spring season.
“We are a confident bunch, and we all feel like we have unfinished business from last season,” said Bond. “The girls continue to work hard to improve at each practice, and that’s exciting. They all know they have work to do and championships to win.”