TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – It’s “Go time.”
With the third-lowest team stroke average among the league’s 12 teams, the No. 29 Florida State Women’s Golf team begins play in the 30th Annual ACC Women’s Golf Championships on the East Course at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday. The 54-hole event on the 6,122-yard course runs through Monday, when team and individual champions will be crowned.
The Seminoles’ postseason run begins in Greensboro with the ACC Championship (April 21-23), comes through Tallahassee for the NCAA Tallahassee Regional (March 7-9) and concludes at the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. (May 17-23).
“This is a very exciting time of the year,” said Seminole Head Coach Amy Bond. “The postseason is what each team and every golfer prepares for beginning in September. This is an extra special year for our team because we know that we’ll host one of four regionals, so getting off to a strong postseason start at the ACC Championships is important. We feel that a strong performance to start the postseason can carry us in to the regional and, hopefully, into the national championships.
Florida State, which tied the school record with a second-place finish at the 2017 ACC Championships, has enjoyed a strong year with five top-five team finishes, including a second-place showing at the Ocean Course Invitational during the fall season. The Seminoles finished in the top five of the team standings in three of their four matches this spring and enter the ACC Championships with a 292.6 team stroke average. Florida State is one of four teams in the ACC with a team stroke average below 293 with its season-best single-round score of 278 in the first round of the Evans Derby Experience at the Auburn ranking as one of the top 10 rounds of the year by a conference team.
Florida State will field its most talented team at the ACC Championships – seniors Kim Metraux, Morgane Metraux and Kayla Jones, sophomore Amanda Doherty and freshman Kathleen Sumner – the lineup Bond envisioned utilizing throughout the season. That combination has played well for the Seminoles when it has been together, and it brought home the team’s second-place finish at the Ocean Course Invitational and its fifth-place finish at the Evans Derby Experience.
“This group is really beginning to play its best golf of the year,” said Bond. “A couple of them have played through some bumps and bruises and are all as healthy as they have been this year heading into the ACC Championships. That’s a very good sign for our team.
“This is a seasoned group with four of the five having played in at least one ACC Championship, so they know what to expect this weekend. Our fifth – Kathleen Sumner – has played in each of our nine events this season and is ready to play in the ACC Championships for the first time.”
Doherty, who will play in the ACC Championships for the second time in her career, enters the event as the Seminoles’ leading golfer. She has earned a team-leading three top-10 finishes, including a pair of second-place finishes at the Florida State Match-Up and the Brickyard Collegiate. Doherty is ranked seventh in the ACC in stroke average and should be one of the Seminole players competing for individual conference honors on the third day of the championship.
“Playing in the ACC Championship is exciting because it’s the beginning of the postseason, which we have been working toward all season long,” said Doherty. “I have focused on dialing in my putting for the postseason. Now it’s time to see our hard work pay off at the most important time of the year.”
Doherty enters her second ACC Championship with a career-low 71.92 stroke average this year (the second-lowest for a single season in school history) and a 73.28 career stroke average (the third-lowest in Florida State history).
With three seniors in the Seminoles’ ACC lineup, experience will be a key to Florida State’s success in the nation’s top women’s golf championship tournament.
Seniors Kim and Morgane Metraux, along with Jones, have played in a combined seven ACC Championships and hold three of the top eight career scoring averages in school history. Morgane Metraux enters the ACC Championship ranked fourth in school history (73.45), Kim Metraux is sixth (73.95) and Jones is eighth (74.95).
With Sumner enjoying a sensational freshman season (75.20), the Seminoles’ lineup for the 2018 ACC Championship includes five of the top-10 players for career stroke average in school history.
Jones, who has played in seven of Florida State’s nine matches this spring, knows it’s time for her and her teammates to play their best golf of the season beginning with the ACC Championships.
“’Go Time’ means we have worked hard and it’s time to showcase our skills on a big stage,” said Jones. “We have all worked hard on sharpening our skills and have prepared ourselves for the postseason. With the regional coming on our home course, we need to start well at the ACC Championships and build momentum for the regionals and into nationals.”
With two top four finishes in the last three seasons at the ACC Championships – including a school-best tying second place finish in 2017 – the Seminoles are more than ready to tee off beginning at 9:50 on Saturday. Florida State will play with NC State and Clemson in the first round.
“This is a very important weekend for our team,” said Bond. “We want to play well in this event, build momentum and use it moving forward with the tremendous opportunity to play at home in the regionals.”
“It’s ‘Go Time.’”