It's been a heck of a February for Florida State golf — current and former players
It's been quite the month for Florida State men's golf coach Trey Jones. The extended success of the program he's established has been (...)
It’s been quite the month for Florida State men’s golf coach Trey Jones.
The extended success of the program he’s established has been on display throughout the month of February, both among past and present Seminoles.
Locally, the FSU men’s golf team looks the part of a national championship contender. The Seminoles are up to four in the Golfstat team rankings after winning the Seminole Intercollegiate at the Golden Eagle Country Club in Tallahassee this past weekend.
It was a loaded field that included No. 1 Oklahoma, but the Seminoles managed to come away with a comfortable win in their home event. Their final team score of 26-under par beat second-place Oklahoma State by nine strokes and was 14 strokes ahead of Oklahoma.
“Really, really proud of our guys for their toughness last week,” Jones said.
“They came out early and played low early which is a sign of dominance and then we had a rough patch in the middle, then they played really well late which is a sign of toughness.”
The Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll hasn’t been updated since Feb. 12 and has the Seminoles listed 15th. When the poll is updated, FSU should have a newfound status more closely matched with its improved Golfstat standing
Jones has led the Seminoles to 14 straight NCAA Regionals and led FSU to six consecutive NCAA Championship Final appearances from 2012 through 2017. Over that time, FSU has finished in the top 10 of the NCAA Championship twice and in the top five once, a third-place finish in 2010.
Jones knows there’s a lot of season left, but he believes this team has the potential to contend for an NCAA Championship.
“The fact that we’re in that mix and we’re one of the teams that we’ve shown we have the talent level to play with anyone in the country obviously is encouraging, but it’s also motivating for us,” Jones said.
“We know every day what we have to do and if we’re the same golf team in April, in May as we are right now then we’re gonna be disappointed in our results at the end.”
The Seminoles are positioned highly due to having two players pushing up the Golfstat individual rankings. Senior John Pak is currently ranked 16th in the Golfstat rankings immediately followed by graduate transfer Vincent Normann from Georgia Southwestern College who is ranked 17th.
The Seminoles are one of only three programs, along with Vanderbilt and Georgia to currently have multiple golfers in the Golfstat Top 20.
“John, everything about his golf game has gotten better. He was always extremely straight, extremely accurate. Now, he’s got a little bit more strength to him. He wasn’t a very good pitcher of the ball and was a really, really poor wedge player, as a lot of high school golfers are, and he’s become a really good wedge player … ” Jones said.
“Vincent’s walking in here from the Division-II team and he’s just like a sponge. Every bit that he can do to get better with our coaching, our facilities, with the team, he’s just making the most of his year here at Florida State. We’ve had a lot of great players come through Florida State and Vincent Normann will definitely be one of those by the time it’s all said and done.”
Pak and Normann could join the renaissance of FSU golfers that go on to success on the PGA Tour in the years to come.
This group of former Seminoles have had perhaps an even more prestigious month than the current FSU golf team.
FSU alumnus Brooks Koepka won the Waste Management Phoenix Open Feb. 7 and former teammate Daniel Berger followed suit the following week, winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Feb. 14.
They were the first college teammates to win consecutive PGA Tour events since they did so back in 2017.
Since Koepka debuted on the tour in 2012, the pair have won a combined 19 events, four of them majors won by Koepka. Koepka finished both 2018 and 2019 atop the World Golf Rankings.
Berger peaked as high as 19th in the World Golf Rankings back in 2017 before he was sidelined with a wrist injury. After an extensive recovery, he’s been playing the best golf of his professional career lately, finishing in the Top 10 in 10 of the 21 events he’s competed in since the start of 2020.
The pair are both contending for the top of the World Golf Rankings at the moment. With Koepka 12th and Berger 15th, FSU is the only school with two Top-15 players at the moment.
“It does not hurt (with recruiting),” Jones said.
“The young guys today, they want to go to a place where they see there is a path to reach their dreams. When you have guys out there doing something that’s a dream of theirs, then they realize that they can do it at Florida State, that it’s definitely possible.
“Those guys, they use all their resources well and it’s great to have two of the best players in the world. They were on a team together not too long ago.”
Reach Curt Weiler at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.