Frida Kinhult (center) gets a bath after her individual victory (SC Athletics photo)
When March hits in college golf, the regular season evaporates quickly into postseason. You want your best stuff this time of year. Florida State’s women didn’t just put that on display this week at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, but maybe their best stuff ever.
The Seminoles closed out a 17-shot victory at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C., with discipline on Sunday. It was their debut in this event, where 11 of the 17 teams competing were ranked inside Golfweek’s
Florida State head coach Amy Bond started four freshman and a junior, each with a game plan in their head, and watched them pull away.
“They were executing the shots they saw in their head,” she said.
Florida State finished 54 holes at 2 under while Wake Forest and host South Carolina were the next-best teams at 15 over. Duke, No. 3 in the country, was fourth another two shots back.
This is Florida State’s first win of the season.
Long Cove Club’s greens underwent a renovation this summer and played fast and firm all weekend. Bond’s players figured some extra math into their approach shots and took smart lines off the tee. As a team, the Seminoles recommitted to their short game over the past month and they put that on display.
Florida State hasn’t competed since the Northrop Grumman Challenge the first week of February. That start was every bit as challenging as the Darius Rucker in terms of depth of field. But there are three Florida State players ranked inside Golfweek’s
top 110, including current No. 2 Frida Kinhult, and Bond wants them to see as many other players throughout the regular season as possible.
“Ultimately it’s us against the golf course,” she said, but acknowledged that there is an undeniable head-to-head component to college golf, too.
For one thing, there’s team ranking. Florida State was ranked No. 18 by Golfweek
at the start of the weekend at Long Cove Club, but got head-to-head wins against nine teams with a better ranking.
“I think this is our biggest win of the program just because of the caliber of teams that were there,” Bond said.
Kinhult, who was invited to play the ANA Inspiration at the beginning of next month, is the undeniable frontwoman on this squad. She led the field with 16 birdies on her way to a six-shot win over reigning NCAA individual champion Jennifer Kupcho, a Wake Forest senior who already has an LPGA card locked up for the summer.
The thing Bond noticed, however, was how well her team picked up for each other. Freshman Amelia Williamson, in the No. 5 spot this week, opened with 81 but followed with rounds of 71-72. Junior Amanda Doherty wasn’t 100 percent on Sunday but the freshmen came up big so that Doherty’s 75 became the drop score.
“Her little freshies picked her up and did what they needed to do. To me, that’s big,” Bond said. “…Our four and five spot? They were much bigger than that this weekend.”
That went a long way in establishing a comfort level against the nation’s top teams. After this week, Florida State is among them.
ABOUT THE Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
54-hole collegiate invitational hosted by the
University of South Carolina women's team. Team
four scores out of five players each day) and
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