May 21, 2012
One simple line was enough to describe the accomplishment from Florida State's Maria Salinas.
"She has done something which is the hardest thing to do in college golf," said head coach Amy Bond. "If she plays like she did last week [at the NCAA Central Regional Championship] she has a really good shot at competing for a national championship."
Salinas advanced to the NCAA Championships after finishing tied for first in the individual standings at the NCAA Regionals on May 12. Salinas shot a 3 under par score of 213 during the regionals en route to becoming the first individual regional champion in school history. This will be her third trip to the NCAA Championships, second time while representing the Seminoles.
"I'm excited," said Salinas. "Not only because it is my last [tournament], but also because I know I can do very well."
Salinas enters the NCAA Championship ranked 16th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking conducted by the R&A which was formed in 2004 in conjunction with the United States Golf Association. She is one of four golfers - No. 9 Lindy Duncan of Duke (No. 1 in the current GolfWeek rankings), No. 18 Stephanie Meadow of Alabama (No. 8 by GolfWeek), No. 21 Austin Ernst (No. 21 by GolfWeek) - ranked in the top 25 in the World Amateur Rankings who is competing at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Salinas is ranked 14th nationally by GolfWeek.
The senior from Lima, Peru enters the championships on a recent hot streak after finishing in the top two in her last two events as well as hitting a cumulative total of even par over both events (plus 3 at the ACC Championship and minus 3 at the NCAA Regional Championship).
"The last two rounds gave me a lot of confidence going into regionals and believing in myself that I can shoot under par or at par," said Salinas.
Coach Bond agreed stating: "The more she plays and the more she plays with confidence the more that'll bode well for her future. She can certainly make a living playing this game so the more confidence she can build now will only propel her in the future."
Salinas' finish at the NCAA Regionals was her second best this season with her first career win coming at the Lady Gator Invitational in April.
"I think winning at Gainesville was more satisfying than anything else," said Salinas.
Buoyed by her win at the Lady Gator, Salinas was named to the All-ACC Women's Golf Team for the second consecutive year this season. She became one of only four players in school history to earn All-ACC honors multiple times during her career. Salinas joined a select group of Seminoles - Karen Stupples, Kristin Tamulis and Caroline Westrup - who have earned All-ACC honors multiple times during their careers. Westrup earned the honor a school record four times while Tamulis was honored by the ACC three times during her career.
Salinas is the No. 2 ranked golfer in the ACC in the GolfStat Cup rankings heading into the NCAA Championship trailing only Duncan of Duke - the three-time ACC Golfer of the Year.
Still, Salinas will be looking for one more exciting finish to her collegiate career at the NCAA Championships, but she knows the challenge ahead of her.
"You have the best amateur players in college and being able to have everyone together makes college events really competitive," said Salinas. "If you compare it to tournaments back home in Peru when you only have five courses and ten good players, there is just not as much competition back home. Coming here has more room for me to improve."
Salinas, who is one of five ACC golfers with at least one win this season, begins play at 9:25 EST time on Tuesday in the first of four rounds of the NCAA Championship.
Salinas' scoring average for her three-year career at Florida State is 74.22 - the second best in school history. She trails only four-time All-American Caroline Westrup who averaged 73.21 strokes in 110 rounds as a Seminole from 2006-09.
Her career low scoring average of 73.85 this year is the fourth lowest in school history (she also owns fifth best in a single season. 74.00 in 2011) and with her win at the 2012 Lady Gator Invitational and registered one of 17 individual wins by a Seminole since the 1993-94 season. Salinas' score of 66 in third round the 2012 Lady Gator Invitational is tied for the third best since 1993-94 while her tournament score of 206 (minus 4) at the 2012 Lady Gator is the second best by a Seminole player since the 1993-94 season.
By Ryan Syrkus Florida State Sports Information