Beatrice Wallin “isn’t really a school person,” yet she is tethered to Tallahassee, Florida, for the next three months because of school. On the one hand, the 22-year-old Swede only has one semester of collegiate golf left. She is a member of the Epson Tour in the other.
Wallin determined after considerable contemplation that she couldn’t take the latter until the former was properly closed out. So, when Florida State kicks off the spring season at the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Florida, Wallin will be there, as she has for the past three and a half years.
“I get to finish, graduate, and do everything with my team one more time,” Wallin added. “So I’m sort of excited, and I’m not too afraid about turning professional and the rest of my life because I feel like I’ll have so much more time to do it.” “College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
For a collegiate player, this is an unusual decision. Only two players have taken advantage of the LPGA’s decision to allow collegiate players to defer their status until after graduation. Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi famously finished 1-2 at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019, launching their LPGA careers with triumph and recognition.
For the record, Wallin’s competitive rounds at Augusta National have averaged under par. She is the only player to have finished in the top ten at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur on consecutive occasions. Her gamble appears to be a safe bet based on those data alone. She will have missed eight events on the Epson Tour’s 21-tournament calendar by the end of the spring college season. Only the top 10 players earn an LPGA card at the end of the season on the LPGA’s developmental tour.
“If you’re a top 5 player in the world,” Florida State head coach Amy Bond told her senior as they discussed options last fall, “you should be able to at least keep your (Epson) card, but I really believe you can get in the top 10 if you springboard your play out of college golf into professional golf in the summertime.”
Wallin retorted that even if she had a horrible summer, she deserved to continue on the Epson Tour for another year. The decision has been made.
Frida Kinhult, Wallin’s former teammate and roommate, qualified for the final stage of the LPGA Q-Series three years ago by finishing her freshman college season ranked inside the top 5 in the season-ending Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. Kinhult gained a spot on the then-Symetra Tour the following fall and opted to pursue a career in professional golf right away.
It made Wallin realize that she, too, might be given the same opportunity.
“Can I go to tour school if I ever get in those five?” Bea said. Bond remarked. “I replied definitely, you’re insane if you don’t.” As college coaches, we’re all working on bringing our players out on tour at some point.”
Bond and Wallin didn’t talk about it again until the end of her junior season, when Wallin was rated No. 4 and exempt from the second stage. The majority of their chats were around preparation and logistics after Bond advised her she needed to prepare on playing Q-School in the autumn.
“With Frida, I knew going in,” Bond said of her star player’s decision to go pro. “That was Frida’s boldness. ‘If I finish in X number, then I’m leaving,’ Frida said. We just didn’t talk about it because Bea wasn’t like that.”
Wallin shot 1 over par in the eight-round Q-Series, finishing T-60 and five strokes short of a full LPGA card but with Epson Tour status. Wallin talked on the phone with Bond as she traveled back to Tallahassee following the last round. She informed her coach that she would be returning.
With a little more time to consider the next morning, Wallin decided she wanted to do more research. She conferred with her Swedish National Team coach, Fredrik Wetterstrand, as well as her parents. Bond contacted the LPGA to see whether she could compete in Epson events as an amateur and earn points or money toward her card (which she couldn’t). They calculated how many events she would miss.
“I’m really proud of her for betting on herself,” Bond said. “She’s a key piece of our puzzle to be successful and to have her accomplish what she started.”
Returning, in Wallin’s opinion, came down to the amount of effort she’d previously put into her Humanities major at Florida State — three and a half years of studying and maintaining good grades, which hadn’t come lightly. How much of a difference would three months make?
She added of graduating, “I want to do it since I’ve been putting in a lot of time to do school.” “I’d like to do it for my team and myself as well.”
Wallin has the makings of a magical spring, as she prepares to become only the second four-time All-American in Florida State history (a distinction held by only Caroline Westrup, not Tour-winning Seminoles Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger) and will compete in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur for the third time.
“I feel like I know more about how the golf courses are and how the competition is today than I did my first year,” Wallin said of Augusta.
Then there’s the prospect of a longer NCAA Championship run. Florida State missed the match-play bracket by one stroke last spring. Wallin will play a key role in a team that she claims is ready for a makeover.
“Of certainly, that played a role in my decision to stay,” she explained. “I believe we can do a lot better.” I’m looking forward to doing it again, and perhaps we’ll perform better this time, and it’ll be a nice way to end my collegiate career.”