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Ohio State head coach Jim Brown looking for his 18th conference crown at final Big Ten tournament

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s golf team begins postseason play at the 2009 Big Ten Championships, May 1-3 hosted by Penn State in State College, Pa. The Buckeyes are looking to tame the par 72, 7,150-yard Blue Course and win retiring head coach Jim Brown’s 18th Big Ten title in his final conference championships.
    A competitive field awaits at the 72-hole Big Ten championships with eight of 11 teams ranks in the Top 60, according to the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. Indiana and Illinois lead the pack at 13th and 14th, respectively. Jorge Campillo of Indiana is the second-ranked individual, while four other Big Ten golfers are ranked in the Top 50, including Ohio State’s Bo Hoag at No. 33.

KEEPING TRACK
    Live scoring for the Big Ten Championships will be available online at www.golfstat.com. Links also are available on the men’s golf schedule page on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

TOURNAMENT BASICS
Name:
2009 Big Ten Championships
Course: Penn State Golf Course Blue Course (Par 72, 7,150 yards)
Field: 11 teams (Golfweek rankings) Illinois (14), Indiana (13), Iowa (60), Michigan (45), Michigan State (31), Minnesota (68), Northwestern (56), Ohio State (52), Penn State (59), Purdue (80), Wisconsin (81).
Schedule:
Friday, May 1: 36 holes (Round 1 begins at 8 a.m., Round 2 begins at 1 p.m.)
Saturday, May 2: 18 holes (9 a.m.)
Sunday, May 3: 18 holes (8 a.m.)

THE BUCKEYE LINEUP
    Competing for the Buckeyes will be senior Vaughn Snyder, juniors Patrick Simard and Brad Wright, and sophomores Bo Hoag and Michael Cress. Hoag, Snyder and Wright have played in all 10 events this season. Cress has appeared in the last six events in a row while Simard has teed off in six events total this season.

THE COURSE AHEAD
    After a 2006 renovation project that lengthened the course nearly 650 yards and added three ponds, Penn State’s par 72, 7,150-yard Blue Course provides a great challenge to any collegiate golfer. The front and back nine play two different ways, making golfers adapt to the course’s style. Length and accuracy are needed on the long front nine. The greens are guarded by some 27 green side bunkers, making tee shot placement important. The back nine is shorter and features a dose of water and fairway bunkers. The course features bent grass and has a rating of 75.2 and slope rating of 138.

LAST TIME WE WERE HERE
    Last season, the Buckeyes tied for sixth at the Big Ten championships with team score of 1,196 (+44). The tournament, held at Michigan State’s Forest Akers Golf Club, was won by the Spartans. Bo Hoag tied for 10th at 9-over , while teammates Vaughn Snyder and Kyle Coconis were one stroke back and finished tied for 13th.

BIG TEN SUCCESS
    Ohio State is the most successful team in the history of the Big Ten championship, winning 23 team titles with 18 individuals capturing medalist honors since the events inception in 1920. Both accomplishments are conference record. Second to the Buckeyes in team championships is Michigan and Purdue, who have each won 12. Michigan is also second in individual champions with 15.
    The Buckeyes also have set many records in Big Ten championship play. In 1981, Joey Sindelar, father of current Buckeye Jamie, set the 72-hole scoring record at 13-under 271 and holds the record by three strokes. In the second round of that tournament, Sindelar tied the low-round total by shooting a 64 (-7). Kevin Hall shot the lowest 54-hole score in 2004, an astounding 14-under 199. Indiana’s Jeff Overton tied the record the following year. The Buckeyes finished at 10-under 852 for the 2004 tournament, which also set the 54-hole team record.

BIG TIME COACH AT BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
    This weekend marks head coach Jim Brown’s 36th and final appearance coaching the Buckeyes at the Big Ten Championships. It has to be the first event he circles on his calendar, after winning the event almost half the time with a record 17 conference crowns. He personally has more Big Ten titles than Michigan and Purdue (12), who tie for the second-most program crowns.
    From 1973-98, Brown led Ohio State through the most successful span in conference championship history, winning an astounding 16 conference titles with eight runner-up finishes in the 25-year period. Ohio State has put together winning streaks at the Big Ten championship for six years (1982-87), five years (1976-80) and three years (1995-97).
    Ohio State golfers have won the individual conference championship 12 times during Brown’s tenure, including four straight from 1976-79, during which John Cook won twice. Brown has also overseen a record 16 Les Bolstad Award winners, the Big Ten award for the lowest stroke average, including 10 consecutive from 1976-85. John Cook and Chris Perry each won the award three-consecutive years.

RANKINGS
    In the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings released April 27, Ohio State is ranked 52nd in the country. The Buckeyes won the Memphis Intercollegiate earlier this season, which was shortened to 36 holes because of inclement weather, by three strokes over host Memphis. The first weekend of April, the Buckeyes won a quad meet at the Scarlet Course over in-state foes Cleveland State, Dayton and Youngstown State. On the season, Ohio State has a record of 80-52 through 10 events.
    Sophomore Bo Hoag is standing at No. 33 in the individual rankings. The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native leads the team with a 72.29 stroke average and has posted Top 10 finishes in four of the past five tournaments with six overall this season.

LAST TIME OUT
    A Sunday surge in windy conditions shot the Ohio State men’s golf team up the leaderboard at the Aggie Invitational. The Buckeyes began the final round in 10th place and finished the tournament in third after closing with a team score of 376 on the par 72, 7,146-yard Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas. Ohio State finished the shortened 36-hole event with a total of 741 (+21). Second-ranked Oklahoma State won at 6-under and edged event host Texas A&M by three shots.
    The event was reduced to two rounds after thunderstorms passed through the Bryan area Saturday morning. The tournament format had six players compete with the Top 5 scores counting toward the team total.
    Sophomore Bo Hoag recorded his fourth Top 10 finish in the last five tournaments after firing a final round 72 to go along with his first round of 70 to finish at 2-under par for the tournament. The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native was in first place for part of the final round until two costly double-bogeys on his second nine derailed his chance at victory. Hoag had six birdies in his round, including four in a five-hole stretch.

BROWN’S FINALE AT SCARLET COURSE
    This season’s 40th Annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate marked head coach Jim Brown’s final home event at the helm of the Buckeyes. During his tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeyes won the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate 20 times and produced the medalist on 17 separate occasions, including Brad Wright in 2009.

KEPLER HONORED BY KETTERING FAIRMONT
    Legendary Ohio State coach Robert Kepler, for whom Ohio State’s annual tournament is named after, was inducted into the Fairmont High School Hall of Fame Feb. 13. Before Kepler earned national acclaim as a golfer and coach at Ohio State, the 1927 Fairmont graduate earned seven varsity letters for the Dragons in golf, football, tennis and basketball. Kepler finished second in the NCAA tournament in 1932, and later coached the Buckeyes for 27 years (1938-1965).
    Under Kepler, Ohio State built a golfing tradition which was highlighted by an NCAA team championship in 1945 and four NCAA individual champions. One of the winners included Jack Nicklaus in 1961, now universally recognized as the greatest golfer the game has ever known. Kepler also led Ohio State to four Big Ten championships.
    Kepler has earned many honors, including induction into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in 1980.

HOAG NABS TWO BIG TEN GOLFER OF THE WEEK AWARDS
    Bo Hoag has picked up two Big Ten Golfer of the Week awards this spring. He earned the conference’s Feb. 25 honor with his eighth-place finish, shooting scores of 72-70-73 on the par 72, 6,978-yard Rio Pinar Golf and Country Club.
    The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native then nabbed the March 11 award after tying for third (73-73-73219) at the General Jim Hackler Championship on the par 72, 6,950-yard TPC of Myrtle Beach. Hoag pared 39 of 54 holes and did not record anything higher than a bogey.

BO-DACIOUS
    After earning Second Team All-Big Ten laurels his first season, sophomore Bo Hoag has continued his success this season by placing in the Top 10 in six tournaments this season, including four of the past five. He leads the team with a stroke average of 72.29. For his career, Hoag has finished in the Top 10 in half of his 20 collegiate events. He has now shot under-par on 16 occasions as a Buckeye and had seven sub-70 rounds.

BEAR SIGHTING
    While in South Florida over spring break for the FAU Spring Break Championship, the Ohio State men’s golf team was able to spend some time with the program’s most famous alum, Jack Nicklaus. The Buckeye golfers dined at Nicklaus’ home where they talked about the game of golf with the greatest of all-time.

SNYDER’S NOTEWORTHY SUCCESSES
    Senior tri-captain Vaughn Snyder transferred to Ohio State the middle of last season and made an immediate impact in the Buckeye lineup. The native of Massillon, Ohio, has continued this season by winning two tournaments. Both of Snyder’s victories came during the fall, leading the Buckeyes to a victory at the Memphis Intercollegiate, while he took medalist honors with a score of 6-under 138. A month later he won at the Turtle Bay Resort Intercollegiate at 11-under par.
    For the season, Snyder has shot in the 60’s five times, including a career-low 66 at the FAU Spring Break Championship and two 67’s in Hawaii. To open the spring season, he was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Big Ten Match Play Championship after compiling a 3-0-0 record.

THE SPRING SCHEDULE
    The Buckeyes will compete in five tournaments this spring that they did not compete in last season after playing in three new ones in the fall. Following the inaugural Big Ten Match Play Championship, Ohio State continued its spring schedule with the familiar Rio Pinar Intercollegiate in Orlando. After playing in the General Jim Hackler Championship to open March, the Buckeyes closed the month in Delray Beach, Fla., for the FAU Spring Break Championship.
    April 4 featured a quad meet at the Scarlet Course in which the Buckeyes topped in-state foes Cleveland State, Dayton and Youngstown State. That was followed by Ohio State’s own 40th Annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate also played at the Scarlet Course. The Buckeyes traveled to College Station, Texas, and round out regular-season play and placed third at the Aggie Invitational.

BROWN, SNYDER HONORED
    Ohio State head coach Jim Brown was the recipient of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by E-Z-GO in cooperation with The PGA of America and the Golf Coaches Association of America. He was presented the award Jan. 26 in Orlando. The Harris Award is given to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game and represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.
    Vaughn Snyder was named Ohio Golfer of the Year by Ohio’s Golf Magazine and the Ohio Golf Group. Along with his two collegiate victories this fall, Snyder won the Ohio Amateur and finished second in the Summit Country Amateur last summer. In July, the Massillon, Ohio, native won the 102nd Ohio Amateur and was the only player in the field to finish under par. He overcame a five-shot deficit in the final round to capture the title.

CURRENT VS. PAST IN ALUMNI MATCH
    As a tune-up for the spring, the alumni bested the current Buckeyes in the annual Alumni Match, 6.5 to 5.5, Feb. 7 at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. The 18-hole event is hosted by Jack and Gary Nicklaus and designed to give Buckeyes both past and present and opportunity to connect with one another. One current player competed against two former players per match.
    Among the past Buckeyes competing were the legendary Jack Nicklaus (1960-61), John Cook (1977-79), Joey Sindelar (1978-81), Gary Nicklaus (1988-91), Ed Sneed (1965-66), Kevin Hall (2001-04), Steve Anderson (1990-93), Rod Spittle (1976-78),Kyle Coconis (2006-08), Curt Sanders (1991-94), Peter Hammar (1985-88) and Mark Balen (1976-79).
    Balen, Sindelar and Cook were all members of Ohio State’s 1979 NCAA Championship team. The group featured 11 All-America awards, including first-team members Jack Nicklaus, Cook and Sindelar, and were part of 13 of Ohio State’s 23 Big Ten championships.

FANTASTIC FALL
   Ohio State had a successful fall campaign for the second-consecutive season. Ohio State had three Top 5 finishes including a win. Last season, the Buckeyes carried that momentum into the spring and qualified for the NCAA Central Regional. The 2008-09 squad hopes to use the fall as a spring board again. The Buckeyes first place finish at the Memphis Intercollegiate was its first tournament victory since 2004.
    For the fall, the Buckeyes had six rounds in the 60’s, including three from Vaughn Snyder, and 15 rounds under par. Three Buckeyes Snyder, Bo Hoag and Brad Wright competed in all four fall tournament this season. All three carded at least three rounds under par, while Snyder finished in the Top 20 at all four events with two wins. Hoag had two Top 10s and Wright finished in the Top 20 on two occasions.

SNYDER PLAYS IN JONES CUP
    Vaughn Snyder competed at the 2009 Jones Cup Invitational at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga. He shot rounds of 76-71-87 to finish tied for 52nd at 18-over. The 54-hole, three-day stroke play event featured one of the strongest fields in amateur golf. The Jones Cup Invitational, a biennial amateur competition, was first contested in 2001.

NCAA FORMAT CHANGES
    This spring, the NCAA will expand the regional format from three sites to six. Each of the six regionals will host 75 players as opposed to 141 previously, with the Top 5 from each region advancing to the NCAA championships.
    The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee changed the format for 2009 with the individual champion determined after 54 holes of play and the Top 8 teams moving on to a final day of match-play. The team with the lowest score after three rounds will play the team with the eighth-lowest score, No. 2 will play No. 7 and so on until a national champion is determined.

FREQUENT FLYERS
    The Buckeyes are earning their frequent flyer miles this season as they travel a total of 11,962 miles to 11 different tournaments, an average of 1,087 miles per trip. Two of the Buckeyes excursion stretch over 1,300 miles, including a 4,498 miles trip to Hawaii. However, if Ohio State advances to the NCAA Championships, it is just a short two hour (120 miles) drive to Toledo. 

SUNSHINE SUCCESS
    Vaughn Snyder’s stellar play did not end when the fall season came to a conclusion. The senior placed second at the 78th annual Dixie Amateur held Dec. 20-23 at the Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla., where he finished with a four-round total of 275 (-13), two strokes behind medalist Gavin Dear of Scotland. For the week, Snyder carded rounds of 69-65-70-71 on the par 72 course and led all collegiate players in the highly competitive field.

HOAG LEADS BUCKEYES IN FALL QUALIFYING, AGAIN
    Bo Hoag began his sophomore season by winning the team’s Jack Nicklaus Low Fall Qualifier Award for the second-consecutive season with an average of 69.25 in eight rounds. Hoag is just the sixth Buckeye to break with 70-mark in the 35 years of the award and the first since Colin Biles (69.4) in 2004. It was the third-lowest qualifying average with Doug Wade holding the all-time record at 68.6 in 2001.
    Fall qualifying for the team was held Sept. 12-21. The Buckeyes played eight rounds on the Scarlet Course and one round on the Gray Course at the OSU Golf Club with the highest score thrown out. Hoag, a native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, carded rounds of 69-72-68-70-70-70-69 with his score of 76 thrown out. He topped it off with a 66 on Gray.

ONE LAST TIME
    The 2008-09 season will be the last for Ohio State head coach Jim Brown. It will be Brown’s 36th season at the helm of the Buckeyes and 42nd year overall coaching college golf.
    Under his guidance, Ohio State has won a league-record 17 Big Ten championships. The Buckeyes won the conference crown every season from 1976-90, except for 1981 and ’88 when they were runners-up. He has produced 93 All-Big Ten honorees.
    Brown, a native of Martins Ferry, Ohio, has served as the head coach for the Buckeyes since 1974. He is currently the winningest active coach in the NCAA with 157 tournament victories. In his 35 seasons, Brown has led the Buckeyes to 31 NCAA appearances, including the NCAA Central Regional in 2008, and 11 Top 10 NCAA championship finishes. The Buckeyes won the national championship, the second in program history, in 1979.
    Individually, Brown has tutored an NCAA individual champion in Clark Burroughs (1985), 18 Big Ten medalists, 11 First Team All-America selections and 40 other All-America honorees. Chris Perry was named College Player of the Year in 1984 and Chris Smith earned both Big Ten Freshman of the Year (1988) and Player of the Year (1990) awards under Brown.
    Brown’s student-athletes also have excelled in the classroom. The Buckeyes have received 11 All-America Scholar awards, 55 Academic All-Big Ten honors and 84 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes nods since the inception of both awards in 1987.
    As a coach, Brown was named National Coach of the Year in 1979 and ’86, and District IV Coach of the Year in consecutive seasons from 1977-80 and again from 1982-87. He has earned Big Ten Coach of the Year laurels three times in 1995, ’96 and 2004.

UP NEXT
    The Buckeyes will await the announcement of the NCAA tournament field Monday, May 4. The six regionals will be held May 14-16 in Galloway, N.J., Austin, Texas, Daly City, Calif., Sorrento, Fla., Alvaton, Ky., and Stillwater, Okla.