April 16, 2013
Being a leader is never easy. It comes with the burden of having more people focus on you. It comes with the responsibility of keeping your teammates motivated even in the hardest of times. It comes with a dependability some simply don't want to take on for themselves.
For Jessica Negron, being a leader for the women's golf team is about pride - a pride that she has wholeheartedly accepted.
"Jess is definitely our leader on the golf course," said Seminole women's golf coach Amy Bondsaid. "She proves it tournament in and tournament out that she is going to take the reins and run with it. Over the last couple of weeks she's started to hit the ball really well. She's one of the best ball strikers I've been around in a long time. She's one of those players who is going to be our leader on the golf course. She's going to give it her all every tournament."
Negron is Florida State's most experienced golfer, having played in 41 events including one NCAA Championship, three NCAA Championship Regionals, and three ACC Championships. In her four years at Florida State, Negron has ten Top 10 finishes including four so far this season.
"It's really helpful not only for my own game but also for my teammates when we go to these courses we have been to multiple times." Said Negron. "When we play practice rounds [I'm able to] give my teammates little tidbits here and there."
"Golf can be a very challenging sport," continued Negron. `One day you're on it and the next day you're not. I try to encourage the younger girls by trying to keep them focused on all the positive things they're doing because golf is mainly a mental sport."
Negron has an incredible ability to see the positives in just about every situation and has been at her best on golf's biggest stages during her career.
She earned her best career finish of third place at the 2011 NCAA East Regional Championship on the Legends Course at LPGA International. She shot a 3-under par 69 in the first round and finished the tournament with even par score of 216 to lead the Seminoles in individual standings. With her performance, Negron earned NCAA East Regional All-American honors and helped bring Florida State to a No. 14 national ranking by the end of the year.
"[I don't feel] like its more pressure [to play in high profile tournaments]," said Negron. "It's one of those things where you really want to play well, it's the end of the year and you want to go out with a bang. I personally have a lot of fun with ACC's and NCAA Regionals because those events really get your adrenalin pumping."
As a freshman, Negron immediately earned her way into the Seminoles' line-up helping the team to the championship of the Bettie Lou Evans / University of Kentucky Invitational in just the second event of her career. Individually, she earned three top 20 finishes during her first semester. Since her first start, Negron has improved her game and made her mark on the Seminole record book. Negron currently sits among the all-time school leaders with a 75.09 scoring average.
"I have been the beneficiary of a lot of help from many different people during my career," said Negron. "From Coach Bond, to Coach Jones to Coach Savage and Coach Duck, so many people have helped me get to where I am today. I wasn't really expecting to have the one of the top stroke averages in school history or anything like that. I just wanted to improve as a golfer in each tournament and help my team win."
As her collegiate career enters its final stretch, Negron can happily reflect on the successes she has achieved as a Seminole.
The most important thing she will take from her career as a Seminole golfer is how much she has matured as a person during the past four years.
"The end of my career at Florida State is going to be very sad," said Negron. "I love these girls to death. They've become my second family and the thought of leaving them is heartbreaking."
Negron's pride has also grown throughout her career - a pride she will showcase as she works to help lead the Seminoles to their school-record eighth consecutive NCAA Championship appearances and the pride she will showcase when she earns her degree in social science in May.
By Ryan Syrkus Florida State Sports Information