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Buckeyes one of four Big Ten teams among 15-team field

COLUMBUS, Ohio After playing out in California last week, the Ohio State women’s golf team has a quick turnaround and travels to Parrish, Fla., for the Central District Invitational Feb. 16-17. Hosted by Michigan State, the tournament features 15 schools from across the nation competing on the par 72, 6,099-yard River Wilderness Golf Club.
    The first two rounds of the 54-hole tournament will take place on Monday with 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. tee times. The final round will take place on Tuesday.

TOURNAMENT BASICS
Name: Central District Invitational
Course: River Wilderness Country Club (par 72, 6,099 yards)
Field: 15 teams (Golfweek rankings) Ohio State (31), Auburn (10), Duke (8), Iowa State, Kansas, Kent State (21), Louisiana State, Michigan, Michigan State (19), Missouri, Oklahoma, Purdue (17), South Carolina, Texas, TCU
Schedule:
Monday, Feb. 16: 36 holes
Tuesday, Feb, 17: 18 holes

KEEPNIG 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 women’s golf scoring page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

THE LINE-UP
     Buckeyes making the trip to Florida include senior co-captain Gemma Webster and classmate Jessica Hauser, sophomore In Hong Lim and freshmen Nara Shin and Victoria Villanueva. All five Buckeyes competing participated in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge Feb. 9-11.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD
     Of the 15 teams competing, Duke (8), Auburn (10), Michigan State (19), Purdue (17) and Kent State (21) are currently ranked in the Top 25 of the Golfweek rankings. The Buckeyes faced Auburn, Kent State, Michigan, Purdue, South Carolina and Iowa State during their fall schedule. This is the third-consecutive event Ohio State has met Michigan State this spring.

CALI RECAP
     In addition to the Top 3 teams in the country, Mother Nature posed an extra challenge for Ohio State at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif. Despite rain and 30-40 mph winds during round one, freshmen Nara Shin and Victoria Villanueva ended the first 18 holes in a tie for 18th in the competitive field.  Shin went on to finish in a tie for 44th, while Villanueva concluded the tournament in 62nd.
     Leading for the Buckeyes at the par 71, 5,912 yard Palos Verdes Golf Club was sophomore In Hong Lim who finished tied for 28th with a three-day total of 235 (+22). One stroke behind Lim was senior co-captain Gemma Webster who completed the tournament in a tie for 34th. Rounding out the Buckeye line-up was junior co-captain Emma Jandel who tied for 63rd. Senior Jessica Hauser competed as an individual and finished in 43rd.

THE LAST TIME WE WERE HERE …
     The Buckeyes concluded the 2008 Central District Invitational in fourth place with a team score of 913 (+49), just one stroke shy of third-place Kent State. Then-senior Carling Coffing finished in a tie for third while Emma Jandel tied for 18th.
     In 2007, Gemma Webster, senior Jennifer Cassidy and Jandel competed in the Central District as individuals. While there, Webster notched a career-low round of 69 and a career-best finish with a tie for third. Jandel also posted a career-best finish in a tie for sixth.

BACK-TO-BACK
     The format of the Central District is set up with a first day of 36 holes and a second day of 18 holes. A similar set-up was used at the Lady Northern Invitational in the fall where the Buckeyes placed sixth. At that event, the Buckeyes fired team scores of 312-306 on the par 72, 6,276-yard Kampen Course during the first day.
    Ohio State will play 36 hole in a day three more times this spring: the Pinehurst Challenge (March 2-3), the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational (April 18-19) and the Big Ten Championship (April 24-26).

HOST WITH THE MOST
    The Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge (Feb. 9-11) was the first of three tournaments the Buckeyes will host this spring. They also will welcome teams to the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational (April 18-19) and the NCAA Central Regional (May 7-9) on their home Scarlet Course. This is the 29th year that Ohio State has hosted the Lady Buckeye.

BACK TO FLORIDA
     The Central District Invitational is the second time in a matter of weeks that the Buckeyes have made the trip to Florida. Ohio State kicked off its spring schedule with a dual competition Jan. 25 against Michigan State at the Fort Myers Challenge in Fort Myers, Fla. The Buckeyes dropped a four stroke decision to the Spartans with a team score of 310 on the par 72, 6,362-yard The Club at Renaissance.

BIG TEN BREAKDOWN
     In addition to Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan will also represent the Big Ten at the Central District. At the Lady Northern Invitational Oct. 18-19 in West Lafayette, Ind., the Buckeyes had the opportunity to preview all 10 of their conference competitors. Ohio State shot a team score of 938 (+74) en route to a sixth-place finish. Host Purdue won the tournament, while Michigan State placed second and Michigan finished in fifth.
     The Buckeyes return to West Lafayette to begin postseason play April 24-26 at the Big Ten Championship.

AT THE HELM
      Now in her 18th year as head coach, Therese Hession has created a strong tradition of excellence in her tenure. A former LPGA professional, Hession has led the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten Championships, 10 NCAA championship appearances and 14-consecutive NCAA regional appearances.

THE ROAD AHEAD
     The Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and Central District Invitational are just the beginning of the Buckeye’s busy spring slate. Upon returning from Florida, Ohio State will begin their March schedule at the Pinehurst Challenge March 2-3 and the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic March 27-29.
    From there, the Buckeyes will have a busy April when they compete in the Bryan National Collegiate April 3-5, the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational April 18-19 and the Big Ten Championship April 24-26. They will then look for their 15th-consecutive NCAA Central Regional appearance when they host the tournament May 7-9.

FRESH FACES
     Ohio State has found success in current freshmen Victoria Villanueva and Nara Shin and will look to have similar fortune with its next round of recruits. On Nov. 21, Susana Benavides, Amy Meier and Rachel Rohanna signed NCAA National Letters of Intent to compete for the Buckeyes. The trio will be eligible for competition in the 2009-10 season.

UP NEXT
    The Buckeyes travel to Pinehurst, N.C., to play in the Pinehurst Challenge March 2-3.