April 25, 2007
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a successful outing at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, Ohio State heads to East Lansing, Mich. to compete for the Big Ten title this weekend. This year the Buckeyes are looking to capture their first Big Ten title since 2005 and move on to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
Hosted by Eastern Michigan, the Big Ten Championship is a three-day, 54-hole tournament, held on the par-72 Forest Akers West Golf Course. The first and second rounds are set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, with the third round to follow at 9:30 Saturday. The championships will conclude on Sunday, with the final round at 9 a.m.
The Buckeyes are no stranger to the terrain in East Lansing, Mich. The Ohio State participated in their first tournament of the 2006-07 season on the Forest Akers West Golf Course when they competed in the Lady Northern Invitational. The squad faired well on the course, finishing third, its second-highest finish of the season.
A NOTE FROM THE PAST
Ohio State has won 14 Big Ten titles since 1975, taking the championship four out of the last five years. The Buckeyes fell to Purdue in 2006.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD
The Buckeyes will face nine talented teams at the Big Ten tournament April 27-29, each of whom they have faced at least once this season. Of the nine Big Ten teams, the squad has recently competed against eight of them at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational April 21-22.
CRACKING THE LINE-UP
Ohio State heads to East Lansing with a squad that experienced success at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, placing fourth. Carling Coffing, who was forced to withdraw from the Lady Buckeye because of injury, will not be competing for the Buckeyes at the Big Ten tournament. Instead, the Buckeyes will travel with Jessica Hauser and a squad consisting of both veterans and newcomers. Dana Je, the lone Ohio State senior, competed in all 30 rounds last season and finished with the lowest scoring average on the team. Je finished in the Top 20 three times during fall competition, including a tie for first at the 2006 Wolverine Invitational. Je saw her first tournament action of the spring April 6-8 at the Bryan National Collegiate, where she led the Buckeyes finishing 15th. Je recently added to her winning season with a 15th place finish at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational.
Gemma Webster recorded 22 rounds of play for the Buckeyes last year and has already improved many facets of her game this season, head coach Therese Hession said. Since the commencement of the spring season, Webster has led the Buckeyes in two tournaments, the Central District Invitational and the UCF Challenge. She recorded both her career low-round, 69, and highest career finish in third.
Haley Brown came to Ohio State from Portland State where she was the No. 1 player last season. She is steady, which Hession said shines through in her game and allows her to contribute to the Buckeyes' squad. Brown had a successful fall, competing in three of four tournaments, including a Top 20 finish at the Wolverine Invitational. Brown recently added to her earlier success with an impressive showing at the Chrysler Challenge where she competed as an individual and finished in 12th place.
Emma Jandel is competitive and works hard, two characteristics Hession said have helped her improve this season, as well as crack the line-up for the Buckeyes. Jandel, a newcomer for Ohio State, has already found her place on the squad, competing in all four fall tournaments. Jandel has continued to help lead the Buckeyes through the spring season competing in four of five tournaments and leading the squad at the Lady Buckeye with a ninth place finish.
Jennifer Cassidy competed in eight rounds during her freshman season with the Buckeyes. Cassidy, a sophomore from Dalton, Ga., opened 2006 with a successful performance at the Lady Northern, and further improved her game competing as an individual at the Wolverine Invitational. Cassidy's fifth-place finish at the Wolverine Invitational earned her a spot in the line up for the Lady Tar Heel, where she led the team with a Top 20 finish. Cassidy has remained in the line-up during spring competition and has consistently contributed to the Buckeyes' success.
Jessica Hauser, while not competing during the fall season, has been a major contributor thus far in spring competition. Hauser has competed in three of the four spring tournaments and recorded a career-high finish, 19th, at the Chrysler Challenge.
ROUNDING OUT THE ROSTER
Carling Coffing competed in all 30 rounds for the Buckeyes last season and was recognized with second team All-Big Ten honors in 2006. Coffing recorded three Top 20 finishes during the fall season. The Bryan National also marked Coffing's return to competition this spring, finishing second among the Buckeyes. Coffing will not compete at the Big Ten Championship because of injury.
Gina Besozzi came to the Buckeyes this year with the least tournament experience. Hession said she has been a great addition to the team because she works hard and loves to play the game.
A DIFFICULT ADVANTAGE
The renovation of The Ohio State University Golf Club Scarlet Course was completed last year and made the course one of the best in the nation. It may also be one of the most difficult.
Although the Scarlet Course was completed in time for Ohio State to host the 2006 NCAA tournament last year, the Buckeyes are playing on it for the first time this season. Hession said it may be one of the most difficult courses the team plays on all year and it will be an advantage to her players to have such a challenging home course.
"A lot of times you don't realize how difficult Scarlet is until you go to another place and play," Hession said. "We've got a place to play that's as tough as we are going to see all year. I think having Scarlet as our home course will be a tremendous advantage and will really improve our players' short game."
The Scarlet course has already proven its ability to give the Buckeyes an advantage over the competition. However, the team will not only see the benefits of its home course when traveling to tournaments, it also will have a leg-up on the competition when nine of 10 Big Ten teams travel to Ohio State to compete in the Lady Buckeye tournament this April. Hession is excited for her team to finally see tournament play on its home course and said other teams in the Big Ten are anxious to play in Columbus as well.
"I have had coaches from other teams approach me and tell me how excited they are to play at Scarlet this spring."
The women's golf team has been able to reap the benefits of Scarlet's renovation early in this season. Hopefully, playing on Scarlet will continue to be an advantage both throughout this season and when Ohio State returns home for The Lady Buckeye Invitational.