Florida State University (FSU) women’s golfer Alex Milan knows what it’s like to be on top.
The 2010 All-Laker/All-Lutz News Girls Golfer of the Year won four individual district titles and earned berths in the state tournament three
straight years at Sickles and Steinbrenner. She was the Warriors’ valedictorian with a 6.32 weighted grade point average.
Now, with high school long gone and a year of college under her belt, Milan said she found the level of competition greater than the prep level. However, her extensive experience in junior tournaments helped prepare her for the rigors of FSU golf.
“High school (golf) doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things, because I played a lot of individual tournaments all year,” said Milan, who averaged 78.20 strokes in 20 rounds with the Seminoles. “It wasn’t too different, it was just the fact that I would do that and travel just around Florida, but now we’re getting on a plane and flying anywhere.”
During her freshman season, Milan competed in seven tournaments for the ‘Noles, including the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship
tournament, where she finished tied for 40th overall.
Her best finish came in her first collegiate tournament, the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic at the University of Oklahoma, where she carded a
72 and a career-best 26th place in bitterly cold rain. She said that experience helped her get through rough conditions later in the season.
“Just putting on the FSU colors and getting in your uniform was really cool,” Milan said of her first tournament. “I was just excited to walk
to the airport with my team. When I got out there, in the first couple rounds I didn’t put together the rounds I was hoping for, but in the last rounds it was freezing cold, but I was just able to focus.”
Seminoles women’s golf coach Amy Bond said what sets Milan apart from others on the course isn’t just academics or a great work ethic, it is her ability to adapt to certain playing conditions.
That ability is something Bond identified early.
“The interesting thing (in Alex’s first tournament) was on the last day when the weather was the worst and what it seems to be with Alex, which is a great attribute to have, is that she plays really well when the weather is bad,” Bond said. “She’s a fighter and she fights throughout her entire golf round, never gives up on anything. … It’s something I was really impressed with.”
Milan said the biggest adjustment between high school and college golf is time management, adding that having a set schedule was something completely new. Her transition was made easier thanks to some help from the seasoned upperclassmen.
“It was really cool to have some older girls on the team, and to have some leadership made it fun to get used to it all because I wasn’t the one in charge,” Milan joked. “You know, you start over and it was different. It was kind of nice too, because they helped me adjust to my new schedule.”
Steinbrenner girls golf coach Mark Mann said Milan has left a legacy behind that is continuing the program’s winning attitude.
“I think what she brought to us was the leadership that speaks volumes for how successful the program has been,” said Mann, whose team finished a program record 10-0 in the regular season last year. He added, “A lot of the girls fed off of (Milan’s) spirit and wanted to continue the success and be like her.”
As far as the future goes for Milan, she wants to build a tradition much like she did at Steinbrenner. She said she learned a lot playing with the Seminoles and will continue to build on that each season.
“I didn’t have the year that I anticipated to have, but I feel like I learned a lot of important things about golf and playing on different
courses across the country,” Milan said. “I got to play in different climates and on different grass and styles of courses, and I definitely think that will help me in seasons to come.”
Bond added Milan has the potential to be one of the best golfers on the squad moving forward if she continues working at her current pace.
“Basically if Alex continues to work hard, she is going to be a big member in our squad in the next couple of years,” Bond said. “Alex worked really hard this year and if she just kind of fine tunes her short game, I look for big things in the future from her.”
—Follow Jeff Odom on Twitter: @JeffO_TheLaker