Big Ten Player of the Week Brad Smith and the Buckeyes travel to Greenville, S.C., after placing second last weekend
COLUMBUS, Ohio After a second place finish last week that saw the Ohio State men’s golf team climb 13 spots the final two rounds of the Ron Moore Invitational, the Buckeyes return to action this weekend at the Furman Intercollegiate in Greenville, S.C. A strong field awaits Ohio State in South Carolina at the three-day, 54-hole tournament played at the par 72, 6,825-yard Furman University Golf Course. The tournament, hosted by Furman, consists of three 18-hole rounds each day.
Live scoring for the Furman Intercollegiate is available online at www.golfstat.com. Links to the live scoring will be available on the Ohio State men’s golf page on the official athletics site of the Buckeyes, www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Name: Furman Intercollegiate
Course: Furman University Golf Course (Par 72, 6,825 yards)
Field: 24 teams Furman (host), Appalachian State, Charleston Southern, No. 13 Chattanooga, No. 23 Clemson, Davidson, East Carolina, Elon, Francis Marion, Marshall, North Florida, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Presbyterian, Rhode Island, Samford, No. 16 South Carolina, South Carolina-Aiken, UNC Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Western Carolina, Winthrop, Wofford
Friday, March 28: 18 holes (Ohio State tees off at Noon)
Saturday, March 29: 18 holes (Ohio State tees off at 9 a.m.)
Sunday, March 30: 18 holes (Ohio State tee times TBD)
This week on the official Web site of the Buckeyes, www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com are audio interviews with freshman Brad Smith and senior Kyle Coconis, who finished in ties for fifth and 11th, respectively last time out at the Ron Moore Invitational. They recap that event and talk about the confidence the team has heading into the rest of the spring season.
Also on the Ohio State men’s golf page is the link to a feature story about the Buckeyes on BigTen.com. The article discusses the hometown pride 10 of the 12 current Buckeyes play with as Ohio natives, led by head coach Jim Brown.
THE BUCKEYE LINEUP
Competing in Greenville for the Buckeyes are senior co-captains Kyle Coconis and Zach Sebert, sophomore Patrick Simard and freshmen Bo Hoag and Brad Smith. The group is the same five who finished second last weekend at the Ron Moore Invitational with a team score of 17-under 847.
THAT’S A FIRST
The Buckeyes are making their first appearance at the Furman Intercollegiate. Last year, Virginia Tech won the team competition with a score of 9-over 873. The individual champion was Elon College’s Jayson Judy who shot 5-under 211.
THE COURSE HEAD
Though relatively short in length, the Furman University Golf Course presents a stiff challenge to golfers. To make up for its lack of length, the course puts a premium on shot placements. Designed by Jogn LaFoy, the Furman University Golf Course opened in 1955. The par 72, 6,825-yard course is set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. The fairways feature Bermuda grass, while the greens are bent. The course rating is 71.6 with a slope of 125.
BUCKEYE BIG TEN PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Freshman Brad Smith was named Big Ten Men’s Golfer of the Week this week, the second time a Buckeye has won the award this season. Smith recorded two career bests at the Ron Moore Invitational, March 21-23 in Goodyear Ariz. The native of Peru, Ind., fired a career-low 66 in the second round and followed it up the next day with a 2-under 70. He finished the 54-hole event with a total of 7-under 209 to tie for fifth place, a career high. Smith led the field in par 5 scoring at 11-under for the event.
Ohio State swept the Big Ten Golfer of the Week awards on Feb. 20 with Patrick Simard of the men’s team and Carling Coffing of the women’s team earning the honors. It was the first weekly award for both. The last time a Buckeye earned the weekly laurels for the men’s team was Colin Biles in April 2005. Simard opened the spring season with a career-best round of 65 at a single-round tri-match against Iowa State and Florida Atlantic in Orlando, Fla. The Marbella, Spain, native finished first in the event with his third round in the 60’s this year. Simard helped the Buckeyes win the tri-match by nine strokes for their first victory at an event since the 2004 season.
LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State moved up 13 spots from the first round to the final round to finish second at the Ron Moore Invitational. The Buckeyes shot 17-under 847, just two strokes back from winner Kansas State. Ohio State shot 11 under and 10 under, respectively, the final two rounds.
Freshman Brad Smith led the Buckeyes in a tie for fifth-place at 7-under 209. The Peru, Ind., native had rounds of 73-66-70 en route to his career-high placement. It marked the sixth Top 10 finish for a Buckeye this season. Smith led the field in par 5 scoring at 11-under for the event and the Buckeyes topped par 5 scoring as a team with an outstanding 27-under on those holes.
Kyle Coconis followed up his first round of 75 with back-to-back 68’s, tying his career low for 18 holes and finishing tied for 11th at 5-under 211. The senior co-captain has shot five rounds in the 60s this season. Sophomore Patrick Simard finished tied for 20th with rounds of 73-72-69 for a three-day total of 2-under 214. Senior co-captain Zach Sebert also was under par for the final 18 holes with a 71 after shooting 73 during the first two rounds and finished just 1-over with a total of 217 to tie for 34th place. Freshman Bo Hoag wrapped up the event with a 76 to tie for 44th at 220.
In a separate individual competition, junior Dan Rush tied for first in the field of 17 with a score of 2-under 214 with rounds of 71-68-75. Also competing for the Buckeyes were junior Kevin Grabeman (10th, 222) and freshman Tanner Murphy (11th, 223).
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
After a tough season last year, the Buckeyes have turned almost all aspects of their game around this season. Twice this year Ohio State has finished a three-round tournament with a total of 847 (-17) after a low team score of 875 last year. Last week at the Ron Moore Invitational the Buckeyes recorded had a season-low round of 11-under 277 and has totaled 12 rounds under 290 thus far into the season after just two a year ago. OSU had a team average of 300.8 per round and has improved this year to a 287.2 mark, a drop of 13.6 strokes. In six tournaments this season, the Buckeyes have finished in the Top 4 four times after just two last year. Overall, Ohio State is 62-24-2 in events this season after wrapping up 2006-07 at 62-76-3.
Individually, the Buckeyes have dropped almost four strokes from their averages just a season ago, from 76.29 to a 72.88 mark through 104 rounds this season. OSU golfers have fired 34 rounds under par this season, including 17 in the 60’s after just two all of last season. Ohio State placed seven in the Top 10 of the individual standings in 2006-07 and already has six this year with at least five events remaining on the schedule.
Sophomore Patrick Simard got off to a spectacular start this spring season with a career-low 65 at the tri-match in Orlando (Feb. 16) to earn medalist honors. The native of Marbella, Spain, has recorded four rounds in the 60’s this year and seven rounds under-par. Already this season, Simard has finished in the Top 5 three times and Top 25 on five occasions. He leads the team in stroke average with 71.4 with 11 of his 16 rounds at par or better.
SAVING HIS BEST FOR LAST
Fifth-year senior Kyle Coconis has been one of the bright spots for the Ohio State this season and become a cornerstone for the team. After playing sparingly in his first four seasons on the squad, the Zanesville, Ohio, native has broken out this season with a stroke average of 71.8, second-best of the team. Three times this season he has carded a career-low 68, including back-to-back rounds at the Ron Moore Invitational (March 21-23). Coconis also has achieved the best finish of his career at the Landfall Tradition where he placed second at 4-under 212. He has been one of Ohio State’s most consistent competitors with five Top 20 finishes in six tournaments and has finished an event over par just twice this season.
Five Buckeyes have a stroke average below 74 this season. Patrick Simard leads the way at 71.4, while Kyle Coconis is just behind him with a 71.8 average. Following them are rookies Brad Smith and Bo Hoag at 72.3 and 72.6, respectively. Zach Sebert has an average of 73.3. The five have combined for 15 rounds in the 60’s and 29 rounds under par.
LIKE OLD TIMES
Prior to opening the spring season, current and past Buckeyes got together Feb. 9 at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. for an exhibition match. The alumni defeated the current Buckeyes in the 18-hole match-play event. Competing for the alumni team were former Buckeye greats Steve Anderson (1990-93), Colin Biles (2004-07), Kevin Hall (2001-04), Peter Hammar (1985-88), Gary Nicklaus (1988-91) and Curt Sanders (1991-94). The event was hosted by Jack and Gary Nicklaus.
THE SPRING SCHEDULE
The Buckeyes will travel to five states to compete this spring in Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, West Virginia and Michigan. The Buckeyes will then conclude their regular season when they host the annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate April 12-13. A motivating factor for Ohio State this season is the possibility of a home course advantage at the NCAA Central Regional as the Scarlet Course hosts the event May 15-17.
START OF SOMETHING GOOD?
Freshman Bo Hoag of Upper Arlington, Ohio, was one of the most heralded freshmen in the country during the fall campaign. After capturing the team’s Jack Nicklaus Low Fall Qualifier award with a stroke average of 70.1, Hoag opened his collegiate career with a bang by shooting a 67 at the William H. Tucker Invitational (Sept. 14-15) at the UNM Championship Course, considered the toughest college course by many. He went on to finish ninth in the event.
Hoag concluded the fall season with another 67 in the final round of the SSC Pacific Invitational (Nov. 5-7). Combined with a 69 and 68 in the first two rounds, Hoag had a season-best fifth-place finish with a score of 204 (-12).
The 2007-08 roster boasts two pairs of Ohio high school teammates that will continue to play together wearing Scarlet and Gray. Bo Hoag and Tanner Murphy both played for Upper Arlington High School and led it to the 2007 Ohio High School State Championship. The duo of Michael Cress and Evan Wood helped Dublin Jerome High School win state championships in 2004 and 2005. All four freshmen received all-state honors in their high school careers.
In November, Ohio State completed its most successful fall campaign in recent memory. In four events played during the fall season, the Buckeyes finished in the Top 4 in three events and never finished lower than eighth. The high point of the season came Oct. 26-28 at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., where the Buckeyes secured a third-place finish.
Individually, freshman Bo Hoag tied for ninth at the William H. Tucker Invitational (Sept. 15-16) and came in fifth at the SSC Pacific Invitational (Nov. 5-7), sophomore Patrick Simard finished in a tie for fourth at the Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Oct. 7-8) and the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 26-28) and senior Kyle Coconis had a runner-up finish at the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 26-28).
Ohio State head coach Jim Brown announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent in November. The class includes the top-ranked golfer in Ohio for the class of 2008, Michael Kinkopf of Hilliard, as well as Gary Quinn of Anthem, Ariz., and Jamie Sindelar of Horseheads, N.Y.
Kinkopf comes to Ohio State from St. Charles High School. As the team captain, he has led the Cardinals in stroke average all four seasons. Kinkopf has won eight individual titles and was runner-up in 12 tournaments. Along with his achievements at St. Charles, he was a USGA Amateur Qualifier Medalist in 2006 with a score of 134 after carding two rounds of 67 as well as the 2006 USGA Jr. Amateur Qualifier Medalist with scores of 72-67139.
Quinn is a senior at Anthem Boulder Creek High School where he helped the Jaguars win the 2006 Arizona State High School Championship. In the state championship, Quinn fired scores of 65 and 71 to post the third-lowest winning score ever at 136 and earn first team all-state honors. The team was runner-up in 2005. In AJGA events, Quinn had three Top 5 finishes in the summer of 2007 with a stroke average of 72.75 in four tournaments.
Sindelar, winner of three conference championships at Horseheads High School, is the son of former Buckeye All-American and current PGA Tour member Joey Sindelar. A two-time captain, Jamie Sindelar has played at the No. 1 spot all four years with a high school record of 57-10. He had a nine-hole average of 35.2 as a senior. Sindelar has twice won the New York Junior Championship and finished second at the International Junior Masters. He won the 2007 AJGA Medicus Preseason Junior in Rochester, N.Y.
Senior Zach Sebert turned in some stellar summer performances and has carried that into the 2007-08 season. He fired rounds of 66-62 to win the Mid-Ohio Invitational in June. Along with the victory, Sebert broke the tournament scoring record by five stokes. In August, he also qualified for the 107th U.S. Amateur held in San Francisco. While he did not advance past stroke play, Sebert, who has played golf for just five years, achieved a major milestone in his young golfing career.
AT THE HELM
Ohio State head coach Jim Brown, the winningest active coach in the NCAA, is in his 35th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. Brown, a 1966 Ohio State graduate, has established his alma mater as one of the top programs in college golf. Under his guidance, the Buckeyes have won 17 Big Ten championships and made 30 NCAA appearances with 11 NCAA Top-10 finishes and an NCAA championship in 1979. Overall, Ohio State has won 158 tournaments under Brown and he has coached 51 All-America selections.
JOINING THE BUCKEYES
Brad Sparling was named the Ohio State men’s golf associate head coach, Jim Brown announced Sept. 12. Sparling joined the Buckeyes after three years with the Duke golf teams, including the interim men’s golf head coach in 2007 when he guided them to 13th place at the NCAA championships. He was the associate head coach of the Blue Devils the season before that. Prior to his promotion to associate head coach in 2006, he served as the assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s golf teams.
During Sparling’s time with the Blue Devils, the women’s team won two NCAA championships as well as two Atlantic Coast Conference championships and the men’s team won its first ACC championship since 1966. The men’s team also concluded two of its seasons ranked in the Top 10 nationally and finished tied for eighth at the NCAA championships in 2005 and 12th in 2006.
The Buckeyes will next play at the Marshall Invitational in Huntington, W.Va., April 4-5.