Five reasons to hop on the FSU men's bandwagon
Host Florida State, ranked 10th in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll, did what any up-and-coming team has to do to prove it's for real: win on its home turf.
Interestingly the Seminoles' triumph at Golden Eagle CC in Tallahassee (six-under 858) was the first time the school had won its home tournament since 1995. Coach Trey Jones' squad handled a change in schedule--the forecast of thunderstorms Tuesday prompted tournament officials to shortened the event to two days with a 36-hole finale on Monday--to record its second victory of the season ... and second since 1998.
I talked about this in last week's Syllabus, but Florida State's 73.23 individual player stroke average entering the Seminole Intercollegiate was the second highest among all programs ranked in the Golf World/Nike Golf top-25. However, this can be explained by the quality of courses FSU has been playing during the 2007-08 season. Take a look at the school's stroke-play schedule:
__Event Course Result FSU/Overall avg. __
Inverness Intercollegiate Inverness Club Win/16 teams 72.6/75.18
Ping/Golfweek Preview Purdue' Kampen Cse. 7/15 74.8/75.11
Illini Invitational Olympia Fields 4/12 73.3*/74.16
Isleworth Invitational Isleworth CC T-14/18 75.2/74.43
Gator Invitational U. of Florida GC 2/14 70.4**/72.22
** does not include Cameron Knight's scores, as he played individually
Except for Isleworth, Florida State has done quite well compared to the overall average scores being shot in the events its playing. Meanwhile, two of the courses the Seminoles competed on have hosted the U.S. Open (Inverness, Olympia Fields) and two other courses were setup at more than 7,450 yards (Kampen Course, Isleworth).
Knight, a sophomore, and Smith, a junior, were both part of the starting lineup that helped FSU reach the NCAA Championship a year ago yet did not play in any fall tournaments. Their return does two things:
B) Potentially adds experienced players into the starting five. Case in point: Knight's T-14 finish at the Seminole to become the team's fifth different golfer with a top-15 finish this season
__2.__There is no dominant ACC team this season.
Georgia Tech is the highest ranked school at eighth, but the Yellow Jackets' seventh-place finish this past weekend at Puerto Rico wasn't all that impressive and they have yet to win in six starts. Neither has No. 13 Clemson, which has just three top-five showings in five starts. No. 12 Duke has a win to its credit (tied for first in its home event last October) and seems to be moving in the right direction as well, but the Blue Devils hardly can be considered a decided favorite over anyone. Bottom line: Florida State looks as solid as any school in the conference.
The senior from Sweden is the Seminoles' top gun and has had an impressive final college season to date, having finished in the top six in five of six stroke-play events he's played. He's the defending ACC individual champion and is making a case for a spot on the first-team All-American squad with his 71.17 average (excludes scores from the All-American Golf Classic), not to mention the fact he has a chance at winning ACC player of the year honors with some solid play in the coming weeks.
"Jonas is what every coach wants," Jones told me a few weeks ago of the first player he signed after taking the FSU job in 2004. "He's going to out work everybody and he's going to work smarter than other people. He has a 3.5 GPA. Every thing he puts his name on he takes a great deal of pride in. And he doesn't take a day off. People always talk about how hard Jonas works and I tell them that's your first mistake. He doesn't look at it as work. He loves come out here and practicing and improving. I think that's what's going to carry him to continue to get better. He loves what he's doing and will spend endless amounts of time at practice."