Beatrice Wallin “isn’t really a school person,” and yet school is the one thing tethering her to Tallahassee, Florida, for the next three months. In one hand, the 22-year-old Swede has just a semester left of college golf. In the other, she has status on the Epson Tour.
After much deliberation, Wallin decided she just couldn’t take the latter until she’s properly closed out the former. So when Florida State opens the spring at this week’s Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Florida, Wallin will be there, just as she has for three and a half years.
“I get to finish, I get to graduate and do everything one more time with my team,” Wallin said. “So I’m kind of excited and I’m not too worried about turning professional and that whole life because I feel like I will have so much more time to do that. We only go to college once.”
Florida State golfer Beatrice Wallin putts on the 18th green during the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club. (Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
It’s an unusual decision for a college player. Since the LPGA began allowing college players to defer status earned until after they graduate, only two players have actually taken the option. Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi notably went 1-2 at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 and cruised into LPGA careers with glory and a fair amount of notoriety.
For the record, Wallin has averaged under par in competitive rounds at Augusta National. She’s the only player with consecutive top-10 finishes at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Given those statistics alone, her gamble seems a safe bet. By the time she finishes the spring college season, she will have missed eight events on the 21-tournament Epson Tour schedule. The LPGA’s developmental tour is essentially a money grab – only the top 10 players earn an LPGA card at the end of the season.
“If you’re a top 5 player in the world,” Florida State head coach Amy Bond told her senior as they talked through options last fall, “you should be able to hopefully make enough money to at least keep your (Epson) card but I really feel like you can get in the top 10 if you springboard your play out of college golf into professional golf in the summertime.”
To that point, Wallin countered that if she had a bad summer, she deserved to play another year on the Epson Tour anyway. Decision made.
Three years ago, Wallin’s former teammate and roommate Frida Kinhult earned a pass directly to the final stage of LPGA Q-Series by ending her freshman college season ranked inside the top 5 in the season-end Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. Kinhult earned status on the then-Symetra Tour the next fall and decided to depart for professional golf immediately.
It opened Wallin’s eyes to the possibility that she could have the same opportunity.
“Bea said, ‘If I ever get in that five, can I go to tour school?’” Bond said. “I said absolutely, you’re crazy not to. This is what we all work toward, as college coaches, is getting our players out on tour at some point.”
Florida State Seminoles golfer Beatrice Wallin (right) walks with her coach Amy Bond on the 10th fairway during the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Bond and Wallin didn’t revisit the issue until Wallin found herself ranked No. 4 at the end of her junior season and exempt into the second stage. Bond told her she needed to plan on playing Q-School in the fall, and most of their conversations revolved around preparation and logistics.
“With Frida, I knew going in,” Bond said of whether her star player would turn professional. “That’s how forward Frida was. Frida was like, ‘If I finish in X number, then I’m leaving.’ Bea wasn’t like that – we just kind of didn’t talk about it.”
Wallin finished the eight-round Q-Series at 1 over, good for a T-60 finish that left her five shots short of a full LPGA card but with Epson Tour status. As Wallin drove back to Tallahassee after the final round, she chatted with Bond on the phone. She was coming back, she told her coach.
By the next morning, with a little more time to think, Wallin had decided she needed to do more research. She spent time consulting Fredrik Wetterstrand, her Swedish National Team coach, as well as her parents. Bond called the LPGA to determine whether she could play Epson events as an amateur and bank points or money toward her card (she couldn’t). They counted exactly how many events she’d miss.
“She’s a huge piece of our puzzle to be successful and to have her finish what she started, I’m so extremely proud of her for betting on herself,” Bond said.
In Wallin’s mind, returning ultimately came down to the amount of work she’d already poured into a Humanities major at Florida State – three and a half years of studying and keeping her grades up, something that hadn’t come easily. What difference would three months really make?
“I want to accomplish it because I’ve been really putting time to do school,” she said of graduating. “I also want to do it for my team and myself too.”
The potential for a magical spring is there for Wallin, especially as she’s poised to become just the second four-time All-American in Florida State history (a club that only Caroline Westrup, not Tour-winning Seminoles Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger, occupies) and will tee it up at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur for the third time.
“I feel like I know more now than my first year when I played,” Wallin said of Augusta, “like how the golf courses are and how the competition is.”
Then there’s the possibility of a deeper run at the NCAA Championship. Last spring, Florida State missed the match-play bracket by one shot. Wallin will figure heavily into a team that she says is ready for a redo.
“Of course, that counted in my decision to stay,” she said. “I feel like we can do so much better. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to do it again and hopefully, we will do better and it will be a great finish to my college career.”