No. 44: Florida State men, Oklahoma State women
College golf is just a few short weeks away. To get you ready, Asher Wildman is breaking down the top 60 men's and women's teams. Today, it's No. 44 on the board with the Florida State men and Oklahoma State women.
FLORIDA STATE MEN
2010-11 final ranking: 44
Coach: Trey Jones (eighth year)
Top returnees: Brooks Koepka, Joaquin Lolas
Top newcomers: Freshman Daniel Berger of Jupiter, Fla., freshman Lucas Bejerregaard of Denmark, junior Chase Seifert (transfer from Central Alabama Community College)
Projected starting 5: Brooks Koepka (Sr.), Lucas Bejerregaard (Fr.), Daniel Berger (Fr.), Joaquin Lolas (So.) and Wesley Graham (Sr.), Kyle Cobb (Sr.) or Chase Seifert (Jr.)
Key losses: Drew Kittleson
Key fall tournament: Olympia Fields
2010-11 recap: Last season was one to forget for the Seminoles. A team that on paper was loaded with talent never lived up to expectations. Many thought Florida State was going to be one of the nation’s top teams with Drew Kittleson and Brooks Koepka leading the way. Also, momentum was with FSU after its 2010 NCAA Championship semifinals appearance at The Honors Course. “It was an up-and-down year to say the least,” coach Trey Jones said. “We never played to the level we expect to play here.”
Florida State battled for most of the spring just to be postseason eligible, as the Seminoles were under the all-important .500 winning percentage at one point during the spring.
The Seminoles improved their record down the stretch and made it to NCAA regionals before their season came to an end with a tie for eighth.
“Glad (last) year is behind us,” Jones said.
Player to watch: Chase Seifert. Said Jones: “His ability to adjust to the depth of our fields will be interesting. He has the tools to improve really fast, and once he proves that, he can take off and be a really good player.”
2011-2012 preview: FSU gets a fresh start. Although the Seminoles lost Kittleson, once again on paper this looks like a solid team from top to bottom. One big question: Is Brooks Koepka ready to be a No. 1 player again? As a sophomore, Koepka was ranked No. 1 in the country for a time and was a big part of Florida State’s success. Last year, Koepka finished at No. 74 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and struggled with consistency.
Jones is ready for this season to start and is excited about his lineup.
“We know we have the pieces,” said Jones, who expects Koepka and sophomore Joaquin Lolas to provide leadership and lead the way for what he expects to be a young back end of the lineup.
Jones expecs two freshmen to come in and start right off the bat. “Any of these guys can do it and compete at this level,” Jones said. “(Daniel) Berger and (Lucas) Bjerregarrd have the potential and can both be impact players.”
If Koepka can return to top form and be a true No. 1 this year, the ’Noles could be in for a big rebound. Jones’ incoming class is top notch, and the rest of the lineup is talented. If the returnees can forget about last year and realize they have a fresh start, then FSU should be successful.
Bottom line: Florida State was too talented to have the kind of season it had last season. The odds of that happening again in Tallahassee are low. On paper, Jones has a solid lineup 1 to 5, but the question is: Can the Seminoles transfer that to the course? Expect that to happen this season, and for FSU to return to the NCAA Championship.
OKLAHOMA STATE WOMEN
2010-11 final ranking: 44
Coach: Alan Bratton (first year)
Top returnees: Sophomore Jayde Panos, senior Jocelyn Alford
Top newcomers: Freshman Courtney Ferguson of Houston, junior Kelsey Vines (transfer from BYU), sophomore Amy Ruengmateekhun (transfer from SMU)
Projected starting 5: Kelsey Vines (Jr.), Amy Ruengmateekhun (So.), Jayde Panos (So.), Jocelyn Alford (Sr.), No. 5 TBD.
Key losses: Jade Staggs (transferred to Oklahoma)
Key fall tournament: Stanford Intercollegiate
2010-11 recap: At one point last year, it seemed things were going well for Oklahoma State. Early in the year, the Cowgirls won the Johnie Imes Invitational and were runner-up at the Dale McNamara Invitational. After that, the Cowgirls were a near train wreck, with finishes of 14th, 13th, 17th, second, 12th, seventh and 17th, the latter at the NCAA Central Regional.
Shortly after the season, head coach Annie Young resigned and the school named former OSU player and men’s assistant coach Alan Bratton as women’s head coach.
“To coach at your alma mater is a great honor for me,” Bratton said. “I love to help kids get better, and this a challenge I am looking forward to.”
Player to watch: Amy Ruengmateekhun. Said Bratton: “Amy was a good junior player and played some good golf for SMU last year. She has a lot of confidence. She hits the ball long and has a nice touch around the greens. Her putting game is much improved, and she sounds like she’s ready to have a big year.”
2011-12 preview: The first thing new coach Alan Bratton must do is continue his players’ development. Last season, the team was starting three freshman at the end of the year, and for the Cowgirls to be successful, they need to continue to improve their individual games. Oklahoma State had a record of 0-53 against top-25 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and was only 14-85-1 against the top 50.
Bratton is ready to help the Cowgirls climb back up the rankings.
“I think we’ll be much improved with a lot of young talent,” Bratton said. “In visiting with the girls and the little bit I’ve seen them, they are excited and have been working hard.”
Two transfers are expected to start. Both Ruengmateekhun (SMU) and Kelsey Vines (BYU) are expected to bring leadership and depth to a team that lacks experience. “Kelsey probably has the best record of anyone on this team,” Bratton said. “Amy is playing really good golf this summer, and should help us do great things.”
Oklahoma State is fortunate that they have a coach so passionate about not just his program but the university as well. Listening to Bratton, you know he wants his alma mater to succeed. “This is where I want to make a winner,” Bratton said. “There’s pressure everywhere, and if there’s not, then you shouldn’t be competing.”
Bottom line: Bratton will make Oklahoma State a winner, but it will take time. The first-year head coach has a young team, but he built a reputation for developing players with the OSU men’s program. He eventually will bring that success to the Cowgirls, but it’s likely going to take two or three years, which may not bode well for this season.