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Buckeyes look to continue successful start to spring against another talented field

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coming off a third-place finish at its own Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, the Ohio State women’s golf team will head south to the Central District Invitational to take on a competitive field, Feb. 22-23 in Parrish, Fla. Competing at the par 72, 6,099-yard course River Wilderness Country Club, the tournament features six top-25 teams in addition to the No. 24 Buckeyes.

Hosted by fellow Big Ten member Michigan State, the two-day, 54-hole event begins Monday with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The tournament will conclude Tuesday with the final 18 holes also beginning with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. 

TOURNAMENT BASICS
Name:
Central District Invitational
Course: River Wilderness Country Club (par 72, 6,099 yards)
Field: 15 teams (Golfweek rankings)
Arkansas (38)
Florida (17)
Kent (31)
LSU (18)
Michigan (68)
Michigan State (10)
Missouri (69)
Northwestern (37)
Notre Dame (40)
Ohio State (24)
Purdue (4)
South Carolina (23)
TCU (34)
Texas (41)
Texas A&M (16)
Schedule:
Monday, Feb. 22: 36 holes (8 a.m. shotgun start)
Tuesday, Feb. 23: 18 holes (8 a.m. shotgun start)

KEEPING AN EYE ON THINGS
Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. Links to the tournament also will be available at the women’s golf schedule page on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

THE OHIO STATE LINE-UP
The Buckeyes traveling to include freshmen Rachel Rohanna, Susana Benavides and Amy Meier, junior In Hong Lim and senior captain Emma Jandel. The five making the trip were Ohio State’s top 5 finishers at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge with Jandel, Rohanna, Lim and Benavides concluding the field in the Top 21.

SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Once again, the Buckeyes will face a competitive field as Florida (17), LSU (18), Michigan State (10), Purdue (4), South Carolina (23) and Texas A&M (16) all hail from the Top 25 of the rankings. Having previously teed off against 11 of the competing of the teams, the Buckeyes have bested Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and TCU already this season.

The tournament also will provide additional prep for the postseason as Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Purdue will represent the Big Ten along with Ohio State. At the Lady Northern Invitational, which previewed the Big Ten course and field, the Buckeyes tied for second with Michigan State. Purdue won the event led by medalist Maude-Aimee LeBlanc.

LAST TIME OUT
At the 2009 installment of the Central District Invitational, the Buckeyes finished in sixth with a total of 907. Auburn won the tournament with a team score of 882, while second-place LSU had medalist in Megan McChrystal. The Buckeyes placed higher than TCU, Kent State, Texas, South Carolina, Missouri and Michigan, all of whom are back for this year’s competition.

Leading the Buckeyes was In Hong Lim who carded a 54-hole total of 224 to tie for 11th. One stroke back from Lim was Nara Shin who tied for 15th at 225.

WEATHER FORECAST
For each day of the Central District Invitational, highs in Parrish, Fla., are expected in the low-70s with lows in the mid-50s. With a 50 percent chance of rain on Monday, the skies for Tuesday are only partly cloudy. The www.weather.com  golf index for Monday is “good,” with an index of “excellent” for Tuesday. 

A LOOK AT THE LINKS
Located in the Sarasota/Manatee county area, the private, member-owned River Wilderness Golf and Country Club borders the historic Manatee River. Designed by architect Ted McAnlis, the par 72, 6,099-yard course has a slope rating of 130 and a course rating of 74.1. Composed of Bermuda grass, the 150-acre course is a part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.

NORTHROP GRUMMAN REGIONAL CHALLENGE RECAP
Competing at their own event Feb. 8-10, Ohio State concluded the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in third, tying their best-ever finish. Firing a team score of 897 at the par 71, 5,912-yard Palos Verdes Golf Club, the Buckeyes finished in front of No. 1 Arizona State and No. 2 UCLA. Teeing off against nationally-ranked talent, the Buckeyes bested nine teams from the Top 30 of the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings.

Leading for Ohio State was senior captain Emma Jandel who tied for 12th at 223 (+10). Also finishing in the Top 20 was freshman Rachel Rohanna who tied for 19th at 225 (+12). One stroke back from Rohanna was the duo of junior In Hong Lim and freshman Susana Benavides who concluded the tournament with a mark of 226 (+13) to tie for 21st.

AYE, AYE CAPTAIN
At the conclusion of fall play, Ohio State elected senior Emma Jandel as their captain. The Dayton, Ohio, native served as a Buckeye co-captain for the previous two seasons. She has competed in 110 rounds during her Buckeye career and is the lone senior on the squad this season. At the Northrop Grumman, Jandel was the top finisher among the Buckeyes, tying for 12th in the competitive field.

MAKING RANK
After their performance at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Ohio State jumped six places in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings to sit in the 24th position (released Feb. 18). Leading the Buckeyes is freshman Rachel Rohanna who is the 56th ranked individual according to the poll. Also in the Top 100 of the individual rankings is senior captain Emma Jandel who sits in the 95th overall slot.

In the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are currently third behind Purdue (4) and Michigan State (10). After the Buckeyes, No. 37 Northwestern is the highest-ranked team in the league.
Ohio State also received recognition from www.golfstat.com with a slot in the Top 25 of both the NCAA Head-to-Head poll and the Freshman Class Impact Rankings.

The ratings is a mathematical system which uses factors such as schedule strength, records, number of events played, power rating and schedule ranking to determine the position of each team.

SPRING FLING
At the conclusion of the Central District Invitational, the Buckeyes will resume their spring slate at the UK-KSU Invitational (March 1-2) and the Liz Murphy Collegiate Classic (March 26-28). In April, Ohio State will travel to Greensboro, N.C., for the Bryan National Collegiate (April 2-4) before returning home to defend the crown of its own Lady Buckeye Invitational (April 17-18).

The Big Ten Championships (April 23-25) will mark the start of postseason play for Ohio State who will look to secure its 16th-consecutive NCAA regional appearance.

BUCKEYES PAST AND PRESENT
After a three-month break from competition, Ohio State had the opportunity to dust off some of the cobwebs with an alumni match held Jan. 31. Competing for bragging rights in West Palm Beach, Fla., the team teed off against six LPGA Tour players, including talented alumni Allison Hanna, Meg Mallon and Lisa Strom from Ohio State.

The tournament, which consisted of six holes of best ball, alternative shot and regular play, went to the alumni, who bested the Buckeyes with a score of 8-4.

HESSION HONORED
In addition to leading the Buckeyes to 15-consecutive regional appearances and 11 trips to the national championship, head coach Therese Hession was also honored as the recipient of the 2010 Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award in December. The most prestigious award given by the National Golf Coaches Association, she received the award for her outstanding service and commitment to collegiate golf.

A former Treasurer and President of the NGCA, Hession was also the recipient of the 1989 LPGA Tour Samaritan Award. In her 19-year tenure at the helm of the Buckeyes, she has molded exceptional athletes both on the course and in the classroom. Under Hession, the Ohio State women’s golf team has produced 10 Duramed NGCA All-America selections, 41 All-Big Ten selections, five Big Ten Player of the Year and five Big Ten Freshman of the Year recipients. Academically, she has overseen 26 NGCA All-American Scholars, 78 Academic All-Big Ten selections and 111 OSU Scholar-Athletes.

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
Posting an overall record of 41-18-1, the Buckeyes are led by freshman Rachel Rohanna who has notched a stroke average of 74.17. Competing in 12 rounds, the Waynesburg, Pa., native has carded two rounds of under-par in her inaugural season. Close behind are senior Emma Jandel and junior In Hong Lim who post stroke averages of 75.11 and 75.17, respectively.

FALL BALL
Ohio State opened its fall schedule Sept. 13-15 at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev. There, the Buckeyes carded a team score of 884, just three strokes back from tournament winner Pepperdine. Leading the team was junior In Hong Lim who carded a three-day total of 219 to tie for sixth. Tying for 11th, freshman Rachel Rohanna finished her first collegiate tournament with a score of 221.

After competing in Sin City, the Buckeyes previewed their Big Ten Course and field at the Lady Northern Invitational in Madison, Wis. The site of the 2010 Big Ten tournament, the Buckeyes fired a team score of 878 on the par 72, 6,246 University Ridge Golf Course to tie for second with Michigan State. Rohanna, senior Emma Jandel and sophomore Vicky Villanueva concluded the tournament in the Top 20. Rohanna led the Buckeyes with a fourth place finish at 218 (+2).

Next up, Ohio State fired a team score of 921 at the Mercedes-Benz Championship Oct. 16-18. Finishing in 15th, Ohio State was again led by Rohanna who placed 28th at 226. Competing as an individual, freshman Susana Benavides tied for sixth. Shooting a 218, her total included a round of 1-under 71 on the par 72, 6,317 Fox Den course in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Buckeyes wrapped their fall slate on their own Scarlet Course when they hosted the All-Ohio Invitational Oct. 25-26. Contending against in-state competition from Bowling Green, Dayton and Ohio University, Ohio State posted four finish in the Top 5 of the field. Leading the field by eight strokes was Villanueva who took medalist honors with a 36-hole total of 143 (+1). Also in the Top 5 were sophomore Nara Shin, freshmen Susana Benavides and Amy Meier.

COACHES CORNER
The 2009-10 season marks the 19th year the Buckeyes are led by head coach Therese Hession. A former LPGA professional, Hession has molded the Ohio State golf program into one with a strong tradition of excellence. In her time at Ohio State, she has led the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten championships, 11 NCAA championship appearances and 15-consecutive NCAA regional appearances. Hession is an NGCA Hall of Famer and six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year awardwinner.

Assisting Hession is former Buckeye Amy (Langhals) Miller. Now in her fifth year at the assistant coach position, Miller was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame last September. While at Ohio State, Miller was a three-time All-Big Ten selection as well as the 1997 Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year. She married Greg Miller, associate head coach of the Buckeye women’s soccer team, over the summer.

COMING SOON
Along with the opportunity to play on the renowned Scarlet Course, the Buckeyes will soon have access to the largest indoor collegiate golf facility in the country. Approved by the Ohio State Board of Trustees September 2008, the 26,000-square foot facility should break ground during the 2010-11 season.

UP NEXT
Facing a quick turnaround, the Buckeyes will have less than a week before returning to action at the UK-KSU Invitational in Valdosta, Ga., March 1-2.