Buckeyes looking for more luck in North Carolina with two Top 10 finishes already this season in the state
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After shooting a season-best team score last time out at the Central District Invitational, the Ohio State women’s golf team looks for another strong performance when it compete for the first time at the Pinehurst Challenge, March 2-3. Hosted by the College of Charleston, the two-day 36-hole tournament will be played on the par 71, 5,967-yard Course No. 6 in Pinehurst, N.C.
The tournament begins Monday with 10 a.m. tee times and concludes Tuesday with a 9:15 a.m. shotgun start.
The Tournament: Pinehurst Challenge
The Course: Pinehurst Course No. 6 (par 71, 5,967 yards)
The Field: 20 teams (Golfweek rankings) Ohio State (29), College of Charleston, Vanderbilt (13), TCU (31), Baylor (49), Furman (47), James Madison, Western Carolina, Charleston Southern, Marshall, Maryland, Augusta State, Stetson, UNC Wilmington, East Carolina (44), Campbell, East Tennessee State, UNC Greensboro, Memphis, Coastal Carolina
Monday, March 2: 18 holes (10 a.m.)
Tuesday, March 3: 18 holes (9:15 shotgun start)
Representing the Buckeyes will be senior co-captain Gemma Webster, junior co-captain Emma Jandel, sophomore In Hong Lim and freshmen Nara Shin and Victoria Villanueva. Each student-athlete making the trip has competed in at least five tournaments for Ohio State this season.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD
The Pinehurst Challenge, which features 20 teams, is the largest field Ohio State has competed in this season. In addition to Ohio State, Vanderbilt (13), TCU (31), Baylor (49), Furman (47) and East Carolina (44) are all ranked in the Top 50 of the Golfweek weekly rankings. The Buckeyes are currently 21-26 against opponents in the Top 50.
Ohio State has already seen tournament action against Vanderbilt, Furman, UNC Greensboro, East Carolina, UNC Wilmington, Baylor and TCU. Of the teams competing, only Vanderbilt and Baylor have placed higher than the Buckeyes this season.
The Pinehurst Challenge is a new tournament on the Buckeyes’ schedule playing in the event for the first time this season. This year, the tournament has been shortened to two rounds of 18 holes.
In 2008, East Carolina University won the 54-hole tournament with a team score of 910. The Buckeyes have already fired rounds under 910 at the Tar Heel Invitational (909), the Landfall Tradition (908) and the Central District Invitational (907).
The Buckeye’s trip to Pinehurst marks the third time in a matter of months that Ohio State has competed in North Carolina. The Scarlet and Gray kicked off their fall slate Oct. 3-5 at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C. where they placed seventh. At the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington N.C., the Buckeyes placed second in a season-best finish.
The No.6 course at Pinehurst was created in 1979 by Tom and George Fazio. In 2005, Tom Fazio gave the course a facelift with new bunkers throughout the entire course and adding new putting greens. The par 71, 5,967-yard course is composed of Tifway Bermuda grass, Common Bermuda grass and Penn G-2 Bentgrass.
In 2008, Pinehurst was crowned the “Best Golf Resort in America” Magazine for the third time by T & L Golf Magazine. It features a total of eight courses and has hosted nine U.S. Open Championships for the USGA.
IN HONG IN THE LEAD
At the Buckeye’s last three outings, sophomore In Hong Lim has been at the top of Ohio State’s line-up. After battling an injury for part of her freshman season, the Melbourne, Australia native ended the 2008 season in a career-best tie for 10th at the Big Ten Championships.
This season, Lim has represented the Buckeyes at five of their six events, posting the second-lowest stroke average on the team at 77.54.
At the Fort Myers Challenge Jan. 25, Lim fired an 18-hole score of 75 (+3) to finish second at the dual meet against Michigan State. Lim also lead for the Buckeyes at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, where she tied for 28th and at the Central District Invitation where she tied for 11th in a season-best finish.
The freshmen duo of Nara Shin and Victoria Villanueva has been a crucial part of the Buckeye line-up this season. Shin, who boasts the lowest stroke average on the team at 77.00, has competed in every event of her college career. After representing her country of Argentina abroad at the start of the season, Villanueva has participated in five events for the Buckeyes. At the Landfall Tradition, the pair led the Buckeyes to a second place finish with Villanueva tying for sixth and Shin placing ninth.
After being limited to indoor practice facilities, the Buckeyes had the opportunity to get some outdoor play time and begin their spring schedule Jan. 25th at the Fort Myers Challenge in Fort Myers, Fla. Teeing off against Big Ten foe Michigan State, the Buckeyes fell to the Spartans by four strokes after concluding the 18-hole dual with a team score of 310 (+22).
From there, Ohio State traveled to Palos Verdes, Calif., to host the 14th-Annual Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge Feb. 9-11. In a tournament which featured the Top 3 squads in the nation, the Buckeyes finished the competition in 11th with a score of 951.
Facing a quick turnaround, Ohio State then returned to Florida Feb. 16-17 for the Central District Invitational. There, the Buckeyes placed sixth, tallying their lowest 54-hole score of the season with a 907 (+43).
Although the Pinehurst Challenge is a new tournament for Ohio State, the course is familiar territory for two members of the Buckeye squad. Last summer, junior co-captain Emma Jandel and sophomore In Hong Lim made the trip to Pinehurst to compete in the 106th Women’s North and South Amateur Championship.
During qualifying rounds, Jandel fired rounds of 77-73 for a total of 150 and Lim tallied scores of 75-80155 on the No. 2 and No. 8 courses. Finishing qualifying stroke play in a tie for 15th, Jandel went on to compete in match play, falling in the first round to Dori Carter of the University of Mississippi. Lim, who concluded stroke play in a tie for 55th, missed the cut to compete in match play by one position.
After the Buckeye’s performance at the Central District Invitational Feb. 16-17, the Scarlet and Gray moved up two places to sit in the 29th position of the Golfweek weekly rankings.
HOST WITH THE MOST
After concluding their own Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in 11th, the Buckeyes will also host the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational (April 24-26) and the NCAA Central Regional (May 7-9) on their home Scarlet Course.
For the 18th year, the Buckeyes are lead 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, Hession has led the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten championships, 10 NCAA championship appearances, and 14-consecutive NCAA regional appearances.
Assisting Hession is former Buckeye Amy Langhals. Now in her fourth year at the assistant coach position, Langhals was recently inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame by the Varsity “O” Association. While at Ohio State, Langhals was a three-time All-Big Ten selection as well as the 1997 Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year.
The Buckeyes will spend their spring break in Georgia when they compete in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Challenge, March 27-29 in Athens.