Ohio State looks for third-consecutive Top 5 finish at inaugural tournament

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Facing a quick turnaround, the Ohio State women’s golf team will compete at the inaugural Kinderlou Forest Challenge in Valdosta, Ga., March 1-2. Coming off a tie for fifth at the competitive Central District Invitational (Feb. 21-22), the Buckeyes will tee off at the par 73, 6,265-yard Kinderlou Forest Country Club in the hunt for another top finish.

The two-day, 54-hole tournament hosted by Kennesaw State will begin each day with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Back-to-back rounds will be played Monday, with 18 holes to follow on Tuesday.

Name: Kinderlou Forest Challenge
Course: Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, Valdosta, Ga. (par 73, 6,265 yards)
Field: 18 teams (Golfweek/Sagarin rankings)
Arkansas (38)
Chattanooga (32)
Florida (17)
Florida State (30)
Georgia (11)
Kennesaw State
Kent State (31)
LSU (18)
Mississippi State
North Carolina (27)
Ohio State (24)
South Carolina (23)
Tennessee (6)
Tulane (26)
Vanderbilt (20)
Virginia (12)
Monday, March 1: 36 holes (8:30 a.m. shotgun start)
Tuesday, March 2: 18 holes (8:30 a.m. shotgun start)

Live scoring for the tournament will be available at Links to the tournament also will be available at the women’s golf schedule page on  

Buckeyes competing at the inaugural tournament include freshmen Amy Meier and Rachel Rohanna, sophomore Vicky Villanueva, junior In Hong Lim and senior captain Emma Jandel.  At the Central District Invitational, Meier and Lim led the Buckeyes in a tie for 14th at 222.

All five student-athletes making the trip participated at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge Feb. 8-10 where the Buckeyes took third to tie their highest-ever finish at the event. Knocking off the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the nation, the Buckeyes were led by Jandel who tied for 12th at 223.

The Kinderlou Forest Challenge will be a hot spot for talent from the SEC with 10 schools hailing from the conference. Representing the Big Ten, Ohio State will also tee off against teams from the ACC, Atlantic Sun, Mid-American, Southern Conference and Conference USA.

Of the 17 other teams competing, the Buckeyes have already encountered Arkansas, Chattanooga, Florida, Kent State, Louisville, Mississippi and Tulane this season. Competing in six tournaments, Ohio State has already fared better than Arkansas, Chattanooga, Florida, Kent State and Louisville.

Co-hosted by Kentucky and Kennesaw State, the two-day tournament will consist of 36 holes on day one. The tournament will conclude with a single round on day two. The Buckeyes played a similar format at the Lady Northern Invitational (Sept. 27-28) where they tied for second with Big Ten foe Michigan State and at the Central District Invitational (Feb, 22-23) where they tied for fifth.

Scoring for the event is count the lowest four scores out of a team’s five players for each round.

The weather forecast for Valdosta, Ga., boasts partly cloudy skies with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-40s for Monday. However, there is a 70 percent chance of rain for Tuesday. The golf index is “very good” for Monday, and “very poor” for Tuesday.

In addition to the Kinderlou Forest Challenge, the Kinderlou Forest Country Club will also serve as a stop on the Nationwide Tour when it hosts the South Georgia Classic April 19-25. Designed by PGA Tour professional Davis Love III, the course, features a rating of 76.6 and a slope of 144. Composed of Bermuda grass, the front nine features a hilly landscape while the back nine is etched into a pine forest. In 2004, the course was recognized by Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine as one the 30 best new courses.

Shaving 10 strokes off their second round score, the Buckeyes moved up in the final day to finish the Central District Invitational in a tie for fifth at 898. Firing the Buckeyes’ low round of the tournament, Ohio State was led by freshman Amy Meier who shot up into a tie for 14th after carding a round of 70. Also tying for 14th was junior In Hong Lim at 222.

In the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings released Feb. 18, the Buckeyes are currently the No. 24 squad in the nation. With back-to-back Top 5 postings, the Buckeyes will look to continue their climb in the rankings.

In addition to the Buckeyes, Florida (17), Georgia (11), LSU (18), South Carolina (23), Tennessee (6), Vanderbilt (20) and Virginia will also represent the Top 25 of the rankings at the Kinderlou Forest Challenge. In the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are third in the ratings behind No. 4 Purdue and No. 10 Michigan State.

The Buckeyes are led by freshman Rachel Rohanna who is the 56th individual according to the poll. Also in the Top 100 is senior captain Emma Jandel who sits in the 95th slot.

Ohio State also received recognition from with a slot in the Top 25 of 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.

After wrapping up play at the Kinderlou Forest Challenge, the Buckeyes will spend spring break at 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.

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 113 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.

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.

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.

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 finishers 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 and freshmen Susana Benavides and Amy Meier.

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.

Rosie Jones, a former Buckeye and 13-time winner on the LPGA Tour, was selected as captain of the 2011 Solheim Cup Team. Held at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland, the 2011 Solheim Cup will run from Sept. 23-25. Jones, who was a part of the first U.S. Solheim Cup team in 1990, has won more than $8 million in her tenure with the tour. In her career, which spans over three decades, Jones notched 187 Top 10 finishes, five holes-in-one and a 5-4 playoff record. 

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.

The Buckeyes will return to the links March 26-28 when they return to Georgia for a spring break trip to Athens to compete in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.