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April 25, 2000

Going for Back-to-Back

The Ohio State women’s golf team sets its sights on another Big Ten Championship this weekend, traveling to Madison, Wis., for the Big Ten Championship, hosted at Wisconsin’s par-72 University Ridge Golf Course. The Buckeyes are the defending conference champion and have captured 10 conference crowns (seven official) since 1979.

The Big Ten Championship

This year’s Big Ten Championship should be the most competitive tournament in years, with as many as six teams holding a legitimate shot at capturing the title. OSU is the defending Big Ten champion, but Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern and host Wisconsin all have their sights on this year’s crown as well. The championship also serves as a key tournament for qualification to the NCAA Tournament, which is just two weeks away. Five squads from the Midwest District will qualify, so this weekend’s action will solidify the bids to the regionals.

Recapping the 1999 Big Ten Championship

After holding just a four-stroke lead over Indiana after three rounds, OSU fired a tournament-low 302 in the final round as it captured the 1999 Big Ten Championship, hosted by Purdue at the Kampen Course. OSU’s 72-hole score of 1,239 was the fifth-lowest in Big Ten history and was an OSU record at the event. Summerset Lovett’s Big Ten Championship-record fourth round of 71 (-1) helped lead the Buckeyes to the title. OSU’s four scorers all placed in the top 10, led by Amber Amstutz’s runner-up finish (303). Three Buckeyes – Amstutz, Natalie Mosher and Lisa Strom – earned all-Big Ten honors.

De Ja Vu?

If the last two tournaments are any indication, Ohio State may be in for something special this weekend. Last year the Buckeyes finished second to Indiana at the Indiana Invitational and then came home to win the Lady Buckeye Spring Invite. OSU then captured the Big Ten Championship the following weekend. And this year? Three weeks ago OSU was runner-up to IU at the Indiana Invitational. Last week the Buckeyes again earned the Lady Buckeye Spring Invite.

De Ja Vu, Part Two

Want more evidence of a possible precursor to de ja vu? OSU fired a season-low 915 at University Ridge Golf Course, site of the Big Ten Championship, earlier this season. The Buckeyes tied for third place at the Lady Northern Invitational on Sept. 19, 1999. The Buckeyes finished behind Purdue (896) and host Wisconsin (901) while tying with Northwestern. Five Buckeyes placed in the top 24, led by Amber Amstutz’s eighth-place 229. Ashley Lowery and Jamie Rishel each fired a 231, while Mollie Fankhauser and Lisa Strom each shot a 234.

A Star in the Making?

Mollie Fankhauser’s freshman season ranks among the best for any freshman in OSU women’s golf history. With a 76.73 stroke average, Fankhauser has the second-lowest stroke average for a freshman, behind only Cheryl Stacy (75.22, 1982-83), who went on to play on the LPGA Tour. In comparison to OSU’s other greats, Fankhauser’s season is even more remarkable. Current LPGA stars Meg Mallon (84.2, 1982-83), Rosie Jones (82.6, 1977-78) and Karin Mundinger (81.91, 1977-78) posted much higher freshman stroke averages than Fankhauser.

Aber Makes Trip No. 1

After her stellar performance at last weekend’s Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, Natalie Aber has been rewarded by earning a position on the traveling team for this weekend’s Big Ten Championship – her first trip of the season. Aber shot a 232 – a career low – as she earned a career-best seventh-place finish. She participated in OSU’s two home tournaments this season, but has yet to hit the road for the Buckeyes.

Jockeying for Positions

The competition for the traveling team positions has been fierce this year, as all 11 Buckeyes have had an opportunity to travel. This weekend’s lineup marks the ninth different lineup head coach Therese Hession has utilized this season. In fact, seven Buckeyes have played at least 17 rounds this season while nine have earned playing time. Lisa Strom and Mollie Fankhauser are the only Buckeyes who have competed in all 26 rounds this season.

Strom Notches First Ace

Lisa Strom earned her first career hole-in-one last weekend, as she aced the par-3 13th hole at OSU’s Scarlet Course. Strom’s eagle – the lone one for anyone in the tourney – led her to a 75 for the round and sixth-place 231 overall.

Bucks in the National Scene

Ohio State is ranked 31st in the latest Golfweek national rankings and 37th in the MasterCard rankings. Mollie Fankhauser is ranked 70th in the Golfweek individual rankings and 85th in the MasterCard rankings.

Ohio State Wins Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational

OSU shot a tournament-low 303 in the final round of the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, rallying from two strokes down to earn its third-consecutive Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational crown. The Buckeyes’ 929 was six strokes better than Michigan State, who led the tourney after two rounds. MSU’s Kasey Gant claimed medallist honors with a 227, while OSU’s Mollie Fankhauser took runner-up laurels with a 228 (+12). Lisa Strom finished sixth (231), while Natalie Aber shot a career-low 232 to take seventh place.

Welcome Home Caroline

Caroline Keggi recently took over as Ohio State’s assistant coach. An all-Big Ten performer for the Buckeyes in 1984, Keggi replaced Christina Geiger, who left the team due to personal reasons. Keggi was a two-time All-America selection with New Mexico and the national individual champion in 1987. Keggi made her official debut for OSU at the Bryan National Collegiate (3/24-26).

Players of the Year

Sophomore Jamie Rishel was recently honored as Mid-Ohio Golfer’s Women’s Player of the Year, while former Buckeye Natalie Mosher earned Women’s College Player of the Year honor for the second-consecutive year. Rishel, who spent her freshman campaign at Florida, won the Franklin County Women’s Championship in 1999 and qualified for the LPGA Firstar Classic last summer. Amber Amstutz was runner-up to Mosher in the Women’s College Division.

Bucks Young But Experienced

Just how young is young? Consider that seven of 11 team members are enjoying their first season as Buckeyes and the answer is extremely young. Mollie Fankhauser, one of four true freshmen, is the only newcomer – and one of only two on the team – who has played in all 26 rounds. With that experience she touts the lowest stroke average (76.73) on the Buckeye scoreboard. Fankhauser and sophomores Ashley Lowery and Jamie Rishel have posted seven of the top 11 OSU tourney scores.

Even More Experienced Youth

Another frosh, Mary Lidester, posted a career-best 16th-place finish at the Indiana Invitational, while sophomore Kelly Moskal tied Lidester, also notching a career-best 16th-place finish. Sophomore Natalie Aber stepped up last weekend to record a seventh-place finish (232) at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invite.

Hession Inks Prep Phenom

OSU will enjoy the talents of one of the top prep golfers in the country next season with the signing of all-American Allison Hanna of Portland, Ore. Hanna comes off a stellar 1999 season in which she earned second-team Polo Junior All-America status. Boasting a zero handicap, Hanna shared first-place honors at the 1999 Oregon High School state championship, bettering her runner-up finish of 1998. Hanna also was named an All-American in basketball by USA Today. A top-notch scholar-athlete, Hanna carries a 3.96 grade point average and was honored as one of the top 20 female scholar-athletes in Oregon.

Home of 2000 NCAA East Regional

The Ohio State University will serve as the host for the 2000 NCAA East Regional May 11-13 at the OSU Scarlet Course. The 54-hole event features 24 teams and six individuals not from those teams. The action tees off at approximately 7:30 a.m. each day and the top 11 teams will earn a berth in the NCAA Championship, scheduled for May 24-27 at Oregon State’s Crosswater Golf Club.

Head Coach Therese Hession

Ohio State head coach Therese Hession is guiding the Buckeyes for the ninth season, leading the team to national prominence. Boasting a career record with more than 1,000 wins, Hession guided the Buckeyes to six postseason berths in her first eight seasons, including three-consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship. The 1997 NGCA Coach of the Year, Hession has led the Buckeyes to three Big Ten titles, winning conference coach of the year laurels each year. Hession also is a three-time Midwest District Coach of the Year. She led the Buckeyes to the 1997 NCAA East Regional Championship and has brought OSU to four NCAA Championships. A 1979 graduate of Southern Methodist, Hession was a full-time professional golfer for 11 years, competing in more than 250 LPGA tournaments during her career.

PLAYER PROFILES

Natalie Aber (So., Akron, Ohio)

Aber was a pleasant surprise at last weekend’s Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, shooting a career-best 232 as she saw action for the first time during the spring schedule … Took seventh place at the Lady Buckeye Spring, also a career best … Shot a career-best 76 in the first round of the LBSI, then bettered it with a 75 in the final round … Made the starting lineup for the first time this season last weekend … Competing in her second Big Ten Championship … Shot a 342 at last year’s championships, taking 55th place … A competitor in six rounds this season, holding the team’s third-lowest stroke average per round (78.17).

Amber Amstutz (Sr., Leo, Ind.)

OSU co-captain … Competing in her fourth Big Ten Championship … Shook off the lingering effects of a cervical strain to record a 242 last weekend in her first competition in three weeks … Ranks fourth on the team in stroke average (78.25) … Has competed in 24 of 26 rounds this season … Notched a season-best 229 at the Lady Northern (9/17-19/99), tying for eighth place … Shot a season-low 72 (E) in the second round of the Lady Northern … Took runner-up honors at last year’s Big Ten Championship, falling two strokes shy of the individual crown … Named to 1999 all-Big Ten team … Finished 35th at the 1999 NCAA Championship … Big Ten Freshman of the Year for 1996-97 season.

Mollie Fankhauser (Fr., Dublin, Ohio)

One of the leading candidates for Big Ten Freshman of the Year … Leads the team with a 76.73 stroke average … One of two Buckeyes to compete in all 26 rounds this season … Took runner-up honors at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, finishing one stroke behind champion Kasey Gant of Michigan State … The finish was a career best … Has recorded just five rounds of 80+ this season, with the highest, an 82, coming on the par-74 IU Public Golf Course … Recorded a career-low 224 at the Bryan National Collegiate (3/24-26/00), which she then tied the following weekend at the Liz Murphey Classic …. Named Big Ten Women’s Golfer of the Week after performance at Liz Murphey Classic … A 1999 AJGA Polo All-American.

Ashley Lowery (So., West Lafayette, Ind.)

Recorded her best performance of the season at University Ridge, firing a 231 at the Lady Northern … Tied for 13th place at the Lady Northern – her best finish of the season … Also shot a season low 72 (E) in the tournament’s final round … Has competed in 20 of 26 rounds this season … Her 80.5 stroke average is fifth-best on the team … Earned two of the team’s best eight individual rounds this season … Transfer from University of Kansas.

Kelly Moskal (So., Hinckley, Ohio)

Notched a season-best 16th-place finish at the Indiana Invitational (4/8-9) … Shot a season-low 241 at last weekend’s Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational … The score tied her previous low of 241, set a month prior at the Bryan National Collegiate … Has competed in six tournaments this season … Participated in 17 of 26 rounds this season … Transfer from University of Florida.

Lisa Strom (Sr., North Wales, Pa.)

OSU co-captain … One of two Buckeyes to compete in all 26 rounds this season … Ending her stellar career with a solid senior season … Second on team in stroke average (77.77 average) … Shot a season-low 223 at the prestigious TRW Regional Challenge, tying for 15th place … Earned a season-best fifth-place finish at the Indiana Invitational three weeks ago … Has registered back-to-back top-10 finishes … Carded just six rounds of 80+ this season … Took ninth place at last year’s Big Ten Championship en route to selection on 1999 all-Big Ten team … Finished team-best 24th (229) at last year’s NCAA Championship, leading OSU to 11th-place national finish.