Feb. 6, 2007
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeyes are set to compete in their first tournament of the spring season at the Northop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. The No. 24 Ohio State women’s golf team will host the three-day, 54-hole tournament at the Palos Verdes Golf Club.
The first round will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 12. The second and third round will be held Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 at 9 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. respectively.
The Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge will mark the Buckeyes first competition since ending the fall season fifth at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. Coach Therese Hession feels the Buckeyes have the potential for a successful spring season and is excited to start things off at Northrop Grumman.
“I am ready to begin spring season,” Hession said. “The team has worked very hard this season and made some great changes. We have also strengthened several areas of weakness for each player and it is time to give them a test under tournament conditions.”
A LOOK AT THE FIELD
Northrop Grumman will bring a challenge for Ohio State early in the spring season. The Buckeyes will face nine Top-20 teams, including No. 2 Arizona State, No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 10 UCLA. Ohio State, currently ranked No. 24 in the Golfweek rankings, hopes to improve its position in the polls by competing against these nationally ranked teams.
CRACKING THE LINE-UP
Ohio State, coming off a successful fall season, begins spring play with an experienced roster. The 2006-07 Buckeyes return six letterwinners, including members of the team that placed second in the Big Ten last year and in the Top 2 twice during fall competition.
Dana Je, the lone senior, competed in all 30 rounds last season and finished with the lowest scoring average on the team. Je finished in the Top 20 three times during fall competition, including a tie for first at the 2006 Wolverine Invitational. Je also has the lowest scoring average (75.92) of any Buckeye to date.
Carling Coffing also competed in all 30 rounds for the Buckeyes last season and was recognized with second team All-Big Ten honors in 2006. Thus far, Coffing has recorded three Top 20 finishes.
Gemma Webster recorded 22 rounds of play for the Buckeyes last year and has already improved many facets of her game this season, head coach Therese Hession said. Webster has high expectations for herself and is expected to be a major contributor to the Buckeyes success in 2007.
Jennifer Cassidy competed in eight rounds during her freshman season with the Buckeyes. Cassidy, a sophmore from Dalton, Ga., opened 2006 with a successful performance at the Lady Northern, and further improved her game competing as an individual at the Wolverine Invitational. Cassidy’s fifth place finish at the Wolverine Invitational earned her a spot in the line up for the Lady Tar Heel, where she led the team with a Top-20 finish.
IN THE GOLFWEEK RANKINGS
Ohio State began this year with a preseason ranking of No. 18, five spots up from its preseason ranking of No. 23 last year. The Buckeyes have since recorded two Top 5 finishes, placing third at the Lady Northern Invitational in East Lansing, Mich., and second at the 2006 Wolverine Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich., to move up to No. 16. At the conclusion of the 2006 season the Buckeyes were ranked and remain at No. 24 heading into the Northop Grumman Regional Challenge.
Adding to the already talented veteran squad are three newcomers, freshmen Gina Besozzi and Emma Jandel, and junior transfer Haley Brown. Each will contribute to the team’s success this season.
Gina Besozzi comes to the Buckeyes with the least tournament experience. Hession said she will be a great team addition this year because she works hard and loves to play the game.
Haley Brown came to Ohio State from Portland State where she was the No. 1 player last season. Brown’s play at Portland State gives her the most experience of the newcomers. She is steady, which Hession said will shrine through in her game and allow her to contribute to the Buckeyes’ squad this year. Brown had a successful fall, competing in three of four tournaments, including a Top 20 finish at the Wolverine Invitational.
Emma Jandel is the most experienced, having played a national schedule this summer. Jandel is competitive and works hard, two characteristics Hession said will help her improve this season, as well as crack the line-up for the Buckeyes. Jandel has already begun to find her place on the squad, competing in all four fall tournaments.
A DIFFICULT ADVANTAGE
The renovation of The Ohio State University Golf Club Scarlet Course was completed last year and made the course one of the best in the nation. It may also be one of the most difficult.
Although the Scarlet Course was completed in time for Ohio State to host the 2006 NCAA tournament last year, the Buckeyes are playing on it for the first time this season. Hession said it may be one of the most difficult courses the team plays on all year and it will be an advantage to her players to have such a challenging home course.
“A lot of times you don’t realize how difficult Scarlet is until you go to another place and play,” Hession said. “We’ve got a place to play that’s as tough as we are going to see all year. I think having Scarlet as our home course will be a tremendous advantage and will really improve our players’ short game.”
The Scarlet course has already proven its ability to give the Buckeyes an advantage over the competition. However, the team will not only see the benefits of its home course when traveling to tournaments, it also will have a leg-up on the competition when nine of 10 Big Ten teams travel to Ohio State to compete in the Lady Buckeye tournament this April. Hession is excited for her team to finally see tournament play on its home course and said other teams in the Big Ten are anxious to play in Columbus as well.
“I have had coaches from other teams approach me and tell me how excited they are to play at Scarlet this spring.”
The women’s golf team has been able to reap the benefits of Scarlet’s renovation early in this season. Hopefully, playing on Scarlet will continue to be an advantage for both throughout this season. and when Ohio State returns home for The Lady Buckeye Invitational.