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Kjettrup’s short game improving in sophomore season

Frederik Kjettrup wasn’t sure he wanted to leave Denmark for the U.S. to attend college and play golf. Funny how things worked out: He loves Florida State and has won the ACC’s co-golfer of the month in February and March.

On the advice of his coaches back home, he opted to research and take some visits to the U.S. Their input? Give it a shot and if it didn’t work out to return to Denmark.

“I didn’t really know a whole lot about college until the last minute,” Kjettrup said. “I do like it, so I’m glad I tried it out because I wasn’t sure honestly. Kind of last minute I decided to visit a few schools and FSU just stood out. I believe I visited in February for coming in that fall. So it was really late. FSU really stood out and I decided to come here. And I’ve seen both sides of the story for Europeans coming to college — people that really like it, some people that it doesn’t really suit them well.”

For all of the stories of 2- and 3-year-olds starting off with plastic golf clubs and learning to play early, Kjettrup didn’t grow up in a country where golf was a big deal. He picked it up at the age of 9, following his older brother and some friends to a nearby course.

And Kjettrup, once reluctant to attend college and play golf in the U.S., has developed into one of FSU’s most consistent golfers and a leader in his sophomore season. He averaged a 72.25 as a freshman last season but this spring he won the All-American Intercollegiate in Houston and took second at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in Palm City, Fla., where he shot a pair of 64s, and tied for second at the Daniel Island Invitational in South Carolina back in October. His scoring average in 2021-22 is 70.69.

Kjettrup and the Seminoles now are set for the ACC championships, which will be played at the Shark’s Tooth Golf Club in Panama City Beach beginning on Friday (two rounds of stroke play with the event concluding in a match play final on Monday). Kjettrup and Brett Roberts are the leaders of a group that includes Dan Bradbury, Michael Sakane, Cole Anderson and Patrick McCann. And Kjettrup is one of the ACC’s top golfers, improving his short game and putting.

“Ball striking has been my advantage for a couple of years,” Kjettrup said. “And the short game and putting, that side of the game has been kind of what’s been holding me back. But that’s what I’ve been having most of my focus on, hitting the wedges, hitting the chips around the greens. Holing a few more putts.”

FSU men’s golf coach Trey Jones sees Kjettrup as more comfortable on the course and in his role on the team.

“He is becoming more of a captain right now even though he’s a sophomore — but he’s an older sophomore,” Jones said. “He is still learning a lot. He’s still learning the process of elite golf. It takes a lot of different stages. He has the physical tools. We’re really working with him now on the mental aspects of being patient and he’s not a very patient person.”

Kjettrup is majoring in sport management, which he hopes will open doors for him within golf if he doesn’t make it on the pro tours. But Kjettrup’s long-term prospects, like his short game, are improving with each year. And he could be next in a line of FSU golfers who found success at the collegiate level and advanced to play professionally in the U.S. or Europe.

“Like a lot of the really good players, he’s a great listener, he wants to be coached and he looks to be coached,” Jones said. “And I think that’s probably why his progression is a little faster than some others.”

ACC Championships in Panama City

Jones said the Seminoles were annually making the trek to North Carolina for the ACC championships when coaches opted to change it up and play some other courses. He pitched Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, a Greg Norman-designed course. FSU had a chance to play the course in February in the Watersound Invitational.

“It is a great golf course,” Jones said. “It’s one that gives you a little room off the tee but if you miss it bad, it’s gone. I’d say the fairways are 35 to 45 yards wide on an average, but if you hit it 47 yards you’re hitting another ball. You can’t really spray it too bad out there. Your misses have to be pretty good. I don’t think the wind is going to blow like it did when we played in February. The scores are going to be good. Par 3s and par 5s, we look at those kind of like special teams in other sports. We have to play those well.”

Friday’s rounds begin at 7:30 a.m. ACC Network Extra plans a streaming broadcast on Sunday at 9 a.m. and Monday at 9 a.m.