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Challenging schedule has prepared No. 2 FSU golf for ACCs

The Florida State men’s golf coaches created a challenging schedule, featuring events around the state as well as another in Texas. All of the preparation has been gearing up for the postseason, which begins on Friday with the ACC Championships in Atlanta.

FSU is ranked No. 2 in the NCAA men’s golf team standings, winning three events. Its worst finish in seven tournaments was a sixth place. John Pak won his eighth career event in Naples earlier in April, while transfer Vincent Norrman claimed a victory in Jacksonville in January.

“We’ve been very consistent this year,” golf coach Trey Jones said. “When you have arguably two or three guys who can potentially make All-American, and you have the potential Player of the Year on your team, that’s going to bring that consistency. What we need to do is what every team needs to do this time: We need all five guys. The ACC has four teams ranked in the top eight in the country. So you’re not going to win this thing two or three people.”

FSU will battle an exceptional field at the Capital City Club for the ACC Championships, which features No. 4 Clemson, No. 5 Wake Forest and No. 10 NC State. It will arguably be the toughest field to date for the Seminoles, even with a competitive schedule that began in January.

“We’ve played anybody and everybody that we could in this short timeframe,” Jones said. “That was intentional. We knew we had a team that will have some opportunities late in the season. And if we do get those, they won’t be intimidated by anyone I assure you that.”

Aside from Pak, this FSU team doesn’t have as much experience on the ACC or national stage. Norrman is a transfer from a Division II school while Brett Roberts and Frederik Kjettrup are freshmen. Another veteran, Jamie Li, has only been able to compete in two tournaments due to a back injury.

Pak has led the team with a 70 scoring average, followed by Normaan (71.14), Roberts (71.86), Cole Anderson (72.14) and Kjettrup (72.33). Jones thinks Roberts is in the running for ACC freshman of the year, an honor that prior FSU golfers now on the professional tour like Hank Lebioda, Brooks Koepka and Jack Maguire have won.

“You can tell that Brett has the utmost respect for John and everything that John does,” Jones said. “And Brett just keeps chirping at him — ‘I’m coming after you. I’m coming after you.’ ”

A transfer from Georgia Southwestern, Norrman has been a welcome addition. The grad transfer was the top golfer in Division II and has pushed Pak in practice rounds as well as tournaments.

“He’s a very hardworking guy,” Jones said. “He is ultra-talented and is going to be a great professional golfer. The only bad part about Vincent is we only get him for one year. But he came his work ethic has been almost second to none. And so by doing that, doing his deal every day and being so driven, it definitely was a positive impact. And I’d say the guy that’s benefited the most from Vincent, not that they all have it, but John Pak having another guy every day that can challenge him. And John doesn’t want to be second to anyone, much less to a guy in the locker room.”

After the four-round ACC Championships, which wrap up on Monday, the Seminoles will break ahead of the NCAA Regional. FSU will host the three-day regional beginning May 17.

Recruiting update

Jones has consistently landed top classes at FSU. The completed course redesign at Seminole Legacy can only strengthen the program in the short and long term. But the extended NCAA dead period, which will end on May 31, will now allow top prep golfers to make visits to Tallahassee, meet with FSU coaches and play the course.

“I felt like someone’s just given us given the keys to Mercedes and told us to park it in the garage and you can’t drive it,” Jones said. “It’s crazy that we haven’t been able to do that and it’s definitely something that we’re looking forward to seeing and getting the word of mouth out there. You can only do so much with videos where people have to come and see that what we have here they can definitely reach their goals. There’s no one in the country that has better facilities than we do from a golf standpoint.”