TALLAHASSEE, Fla – During the first nine years of the Florida State Match Up, there have been seven different team champions, seven match up champions and 11 individual champions. The event has been played on three different courses at two different locations in the capital city of Florida and has hosted countless teams who have played in the NCAA championship tournament.
Florida State is the most successful team in the history of the championship with three team victories (2016, 2017, 2021), three match up wins (2015, 2016, 2017 all with Texas A&M) and four individual champions (Matilda Castren in 2014, Morgane Metraux in 2017, Beatrice Wallin in 2021 and Amelia Williamson in 2022).
Seminole Head Coach Amy Bond, a pioneer among golf coaches who has continued to refine the championship throughout its relatively short history, is excited to host the Match Up for the 10th time this weekend (March 17-19) at the Seminole Legacy Golf Club.
“In my mind, the most special part about the Match Up is that it brings people together,” said Bond. “During a round of golf, you spend four to five hours with another player, which allows you to talk with, and get to know, one another. I have met some of my best friends on the golf course.”
The Seminole Legacy was recently recognized as one of the top 30 best golf course in the state of Florida.
For Bond, who came up with the idea while driving her car, the Florida State Match Up is an event she works on throughout the year.
“I originally wanted it to be rivals playing together,” said Bond. “I began by making calls to teams who were not allowed play with their rivals, and changed the process to one team inviting another team they wanted to play with during the tournament. I thought it would be fun to send out invitations and be surprised by who each team invited team chose to play with. Honestly, half of the field is a surprise to me each year.
“I came up with the idea while I was driving in my car on the way home from my first niece’s birth.”
The first Match Up championship was played at Southwood Golf Course in 2013 with Georgia winning the team championship, Georgia and Oklahoma taking the match up title and Rocio Sanchez Labato of Georgia and Erika Popson of Tennessee sharing the inaugural individual championship in 2013.
“I envisioned the Match Up to be a fun way to kick off the spring season,” said Bond. “I wanted the players to understand the value of every shot, and that’s why I came up with the format — taking the four best scores and the worst score of the partner teams.
“In my first year back at Florida State (her first as its head coach), we missed qualifying for the National Championship by one shot. The next year, we lost in a playoff to go to nationals. I really wanted to emphasize the value of one shot making a difference. 76 is better than 77, 79 better than 80. One shot can change things.”
Bond has assembled another strong field for the 2023 edition of the Florida State Match Up and expects three days of battles for each of the three titles.
Florida State will play with Oklahoma, Kentucky with Notre Dame, Daytona State with Mercer, East Tennessee State with Tulane, Purdue with Kent State and Augusta State with Coastal Carolina this weekend in the 2023 Florida State Match Up.
Each of Florida State’s seven players will participate in the Match Up. The Seminole lineup will consist of senior Amelia Williamson, juniors Charlotte Hearth and Alice Hodge, sophomore Kaylah Williams and freshman Lottie Woad. Freshman Katherine Cook and sophomore Madison Hewlett will play as individuals for the Seminoles.
Williamson, the defending individual champion, will play in the Match Up for the fourth consecutive season. She finished second in the individual standings in 2021 (74-71-72-217, +1, 217) and earned the championship in 2022 (70-68-71, -7, 209). Williamson set personal bests for a 36 hole score (138), tournament scores (209) and tournament score vs. par (-7), while earning her first career individual championship in 2022.
For Bond, one of the friendships she has developed during her career is with Sooners’ Head Coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell.
“We have been friends for a long time, and I’m really looking forward to competing with, and against, Oklahoma. It’s what I envisioned, and it’s what I’m thankful for as we head into the weekend.”
During the week leading up to the tournament, the teams generally host their match up team at fun events once they arrive in Tallahassee.
“We develop relationships with other teams and consider them friends,” said Bond. “Typically, we go to dinner the night before with our partner team. Life is about relationships, and golf can bring people together. The Match Up does that, it adds some fun, and emphasizes the value of every shot. We give a second trophy for the Match Up winners as something unique that occurs nowhere else in college golf.”
The Florida State Match Up begins with a practice round on Thursday and tee times beginning at 8:45 on Friday and Saturday and at 8:30 on Sunday. Fans and friends are welcome to follow each of the players around the course in the Seminoles’ only home match of the season. Parking and admission are free at the Seminole Legacy Golf Club.