Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Through tragedy and transfer trouble, FSU’s Mirabel Ting arrives in paradise

AUGUSTA, Ga. – It was four days before this past Christmas, though Florida State head coach Amy Bond couldn’t wait to deliver this gift. One of her sophomores, Mirabel Ting, had been declared ineligible for the fall season after transferring in from Augusta University last summer, but the NCAA had just cleared Ting for competition beginning in the spring. So, Bond dialed Ting and presented her with the good news.

Ting immediately began sobbing.

“She goes, ‘Coach, these are happy tears,’” Bond recalls. “It was her Christmas miracle.”

Oh, how she’d been waiting on one.

Two Octobers ago, Ting was riding in the Jaguars’ team van, on her way to her first college tournament in Statesboro, Georgia, when she was alerted that her father, Thomas, had died of a heart attack. A devastated Ting initially sought to play on in her dad’s memory, but the next day she decided it best to rush home to Miri, Malaysia, to grieve with her family.

“At that point, I didn’t know if I’d see Mirabel again,” Augusta head coach Caroline Haase-Hegg told Golfweek last year.

Ting returned two weeks later, but she didn’t last long, struggling to focus on school and golf. She remained in Malaysia until the spring, when she finally rejoined her teammates and turned in a strong debut semester. She won her first event, the Moon Golf Invitational, in a playoff before adding five more top-7 finishes in seven starts while earning a spot on the International Arnold Palmer Cup team.

But something still wasn’t right.

While at the Palmer Cup last June at Laurel Valley, Ting grew closer with Florida State standouts Lottie Woad and Charlotte Heath. Maybe she belonged a Seminole, Ting thought. The day after the event ended, Ting entered the portal and ultimately decided to transfer to Florida State.

There was just one problem: Ting missed the transfer deadline (June 10) by a day, and despite Bond’s best efforts, Ting would have to sit out a semester.

“I don’t know that I’ve been more worried about a player,” Bond said.

Though Ting had her bad days, she rarely showed it. She kept her game sharp while catching up academically to ensure her eligibility on that front, too. She dialed in her short game and discovered the importance of proper course management. When Ting arrived in Tallahassee, she rarely used a yardage book.

Tee times and how to watch Saturday’s final round at Augusta National Golf Club.

Most of all, Ting has continued to heal.

“Just trying to know who I am, and like just live day by day,” Ting said.

Getting word that she was finally eligible was a springboard. Through four college starts this spring, Ting owns a win, at the Valspar Augusta Invitational, and hasn’t finished outside the top 7. And of her last nine world-ranked events, Ting has won five of them dating to last summer, when she won a junior event in Malaysia.

“Like a lot of women, she’s struggled with self-confidence,” Bond said, “but she’s starting to come into her own and realize there’s something special in there, and now it’s just a matter of going for it. As soon as a player realizes that, the sky’s the limit.”

As a team this spring, Florida State, with Ting now in the starting lineup, has jumped 12 spots in the national rankings, to No. 19.

“She obviously couldn’t play in the fall, so it was just making sure that she was happy at Florida State, and we were hoping she was going to play in the spring,” Woad said, “and thank God she could because she’s a great player, so she’s definitely added a lot to our team.”

Woad leads the fifth edition of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur by two shots entering Saturday’s final round at Augusta National. Ting is just four shots off the lead in a tie for fifth.

Though this week marks Ting’s debut in the prestigious championship, Ting has played the iconic Alister Mackenzie layout once before, during her freshman year.

“I do not want to say the score,” said Ting, who admitted she played “badly” and even recorded a five-putt.

She’s grown a lot since then.

Bond calls Ting one of the best ball-strikers she’s coached. “She always hits the center of the clubface,” Bond said. During Thursday’s blustery second round at Champions Retreat, Ting didn’t miss a fairway.

Ting will need more of that accuracy and ball-striking prowess if she hopes to track down Woad – and likely a healthy dose of her patented aggressiveness. OK, so Ting has a reputation for being a little too aggressive.

“She’s very much, see flag, hit flag,” Bond said. “But I don’t want her to ever lose that.”

Now that she’s in contention, Ting’s goal has certainly changed. Entering this championship, Ting’s aim was much simpler. “All she wanted to do was make the cut and get to play Augusta National on Saturday,” Bond said. “I’m excited to watch her dream come true.”

Added Ting: “It’s paradise, so I want to get out there and live the moment.”

More happy tears.

And perhaps another miracle.