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COLUMBUS, Ohio – With just two weeks and two tournaments to go before the 2011 Big Ten Championships, the Ohio State Buckeyes will face off against 12 teams at the Illini Spring Classic April 16-17. The field, which includes eight other Big Ten foes, will tee off at the par 72, 7,018-yard Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana, Ill. 

TOURNAMENT BASICS
Name: Illini Spring Classic
Course: Stone Creek Golf Club (par 72, 7,018 yards)
Field: 13 teams (Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, April 11)
Akron
Creighton
Illinois (12)
Illinois State
Indiana (35)
Michigan (41)
Michigan State
Minnesota
Northwestern
Ohio State (22)
Penn State
Wisconsin
Xavier

Schedule:
Saturday, April 16 – 36 holes ( 8 a.m. shotgun start)
Sunday, April 17 – 18 holes (8 a.m. shotgun start)

KEEPING AN EYE ON THINGS
Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. A link to the tournament will also be available at the men’s golf schedule page on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Follow the Buckeyes on Twitter at twitter.com/OhioState_MGOLF.

THE LAST TIME OUT

The Scarlet and Gray wrapped up three days of impressive golf on March 25 at the FAU Spring Break Championship, cementing an impressive first-place title against the 17-team field. The Buckeyes took the lead on the first day and never looked back, finishing the event 11 strokes ahead of second-place Florida Atlantic with a 12-under 852.

Highlighting the effort was senior Brad Smith, who took the individual title with an 8-over 208 performance. The Peru, Ind., native was at 3-under heading into the final round, but surged ahead of the pack after firing a 5-under 72. For his efforts, Smith was named Co-Big Ten Golfer of the Week for the week of March 28.

THE STARTERS
Five student-athletes will make the trip to Urbana, Ill., for the third stroke-play event of the spring slate. Seniors Bo Hoag and Brad Smith will each make their ninth-consecutive team start for the Buckeyes as junior Dan Charen appears for the seventh time. Fellow third-year Alex Redfield will be part of the team lineup for the fifth time this year while sophomore Jamie Sindelar will round out the effort with his sixth event of the season.

SCOUTING THE FIELD
Ohio State is looking to continue its trend of dominant play following a decisive victory at the FAU Spring Break Championship. The Buckeyes have played against nine of the 12 squads competing, with the exceptions being Akron, Creighton and Illinois State, and hold a combined 14-2 record against those teams.

GRASPING THE GREENS
With a rating of 73.9 and a slope of 124, Stone Creek Golf Club promises to provide a challenge for all who tee off. The name “Stone Creek” becomes quickly apparent, as lakes and stone-marked creeks line much of the course. Designed by Tim and Dick Nugent, Stone Creek is regarded as one of the “most enjoyable 18-hole public championship golf courses in down-state Illinois.”

WEATHER OUTLOOK

With the first two rounds scheduled for Saturday, golfers should prepare for a difficult 36 holes of golf to start the tournament. Weather.com is only calling for a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday, but high temperatures are only expected to reach into the low-50s. Sunday’s final round forecast is more promising with partly sunny skies and almost no chance of rain. On both days, temperatures are expected to be between eight and 12 degrees below average for this time of year.

BUCKEYES ADD TWO
Donnie Darr, head coach of the 22nd-ranked Ohio State men’s golf team, announced the signing of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday. The Buckeyes welcome Ohio natives Bruce (Boo) Timko and Grant Weaver for the 2011-12 season.

Timko is from Girard, Ohio, and attends Canfield High School after two years at Warren JFK High School. He has been named team MVP, all-league and all-district all four seasons and captained the teams the last three years. Timko also earned all-state honors as a junior and senior after leading Canfield to back-to-back All American Conference titles and qualifying for the state tournament all four seasons.

Recognized as the Youngstown Vindicator’s Golf Performer of the Year the last three years, Timko set the Steel Valley all-time record for nine-hole average at 34.0 in conference matches. He also fired two nine-hole course records with a 32 at Copeland Hills and Kensington Golf Clubs. His four-year nine-hole scoring average was 36.4, with an 18-hole scoring average of 73.6.

Weaver is from Wooster, Ohio, and attends Waynedale High School. The 2010 Northern Ohio PGA player of the year, he was a four-year starter and helped Waynedale to Wayne County Athletic League championships each season. He was a two-time state runner-up and district medalist with an 18-hole stroke average of 70.8 his senior year.

Weaver earned four Daily Record Player of the Year honors, WCAL MVP awards and all-Ohio laurels and was a four-time state qualifier. Away from high school action, he posted three top-5 finishes on the AJGA and placed in the top 10 at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships and Calloway Jr. World. Weaver also was the 2010 PGA Junior Series champion at Penn State and the 2010 Good Park Junior Tournament champion.

FALL BALL
The first half of the Buckeyes’ schedule started off with a bang and provided some career highlights for a handful of golfers. Seniors Bo Hoag and Brad Smith were the only two to start in all five tournaments for Ohio State, and the pair each chipped in four rounds in the 60s. As a team, Ohio State posted 15 rounds in the 60s in five tournaments combined as compared to just 11 during the entire 2009-10 campaign.

The best individual performance of the fall came from sophomore Jamie Sindelar. In the opening tournament of the year, the Marshall Invitational, Sindelar led the Scarlet and Gray with a career-best second-place tie to go along with a career-low three-round total of 11-under 220. Not surprisingly, the Marshall Invitational was also the strongest team performance as Ohio State came away with a first-place finish and team score of 32-under par (273-274-273 – 820). The victory was the first under second-year head coachDonnie Darrand the two rounds of 273 were the lowest for Ohio State since the 2004-05 season.

The Buckeyes also posted a runner-up finish at the Windon Memorial Classic Sept. 26-27 with a team score of 3-over 855. The Buckeyes finished just one stroke behind Big Ten foe Michigan for the title, but defeated Northwestern, Minnesota and Penn State in the process.

AIM LOW
With five tournaments completed during the 2010 fall campaign, Ohio State has already eclipsed the number of rounds in the 60s from the 2009-10 season. Last year, the Buckeyes carded a total of 11 rounds in the 60s in 10 stroke-play tournaments. This fall, the Scarlet and Gray posted 15 rounds in the 60s to go along with a tournament title at the Marshall Invitational and a runner-up finish at the Windon Memorial Classic.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes host the 2011 edition of the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate April 23-24 at The Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio.