Ohio State returns to stroke play after 2-1-1 record at Big Ten Match Play Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s golf team returns to stroke play for the second event of its spring season, competing in the Puerto Rico Classic, Feb. 21-23 in Rio Grande, P.R. The 54-hole tournament will take place at the par 72, 6,902-yard River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club with a shotgun start each day.

A tough field awaits the Buckeyes as 10 of the 15 teams are ranked in the top 50 of the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin ratings released Feb. 14. Two of those teams are in the top 10 with No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Texas. Also in Puerto Rico will be Big Ten foes Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue as well as in-state rival Kent State.

Name: Puerto Rico Classic
Course: River Course-Rio Mar Country Club (par 72, 6,902 yards)
Field (15 Teams, Golfweek rankings):
#12 Alabama
#28 Clemson
#37 East Tennessee State
#24 Georgia
#19 Georgia Tech
#36 Kent State
#42 Michigan
#1 Oklahoma State
Ohio State
#10 Texas
#40 Virginia Tech
Sunday, Feb. 21 – 8 a.m. (18 holes)
Monday, Feb. 22 – 8 a.m. (18 holes)
Tuesday, Feb. 23 – 7:30 a.m. (18 holes)

Live scoring will not be available for this tournament. Results will be posted at the end of each round on  and a daily recap will be available on

Teeing off in Puerto Rico will be senior Brad Wright and a trio of juniors in Brad Smith, Bo Hoag, and Michael Cress, and freshman Matt Turner. Each golfer is making their second start of the spring schedule after last weekend’s Big Ten Match Play Championship.

The Puerto Rico Classic will take place on the Greg Norman-designed River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, P.R. The picturesque course is Norman’s first Caribbean-design and features native foliage and a backdrop of mountains throughout. The term “river” is in the course name to pay homage to the Mamayes River which runs along many of the holes.

The Buckeyes recently returned from Coral Springs, Fla., where they competed in the second-annual Big Ten Match Play Championship and finished the event with a 2-1-1 record. The Scarlet and Gray posted an impressive 5-1 victory over Michigan State to open the tournament and battled Iowa to a 3-3 tie in the second round. The Hawkeyes took the tiebreaker and sent the Buckeyes to the consolation bracket where they fell 2.5-3.5 against Michigan. Ohio State closed out the event with another notable 5-1 victory against Indiana.

Ohio State was led by senior Brad Wright, junior Brad Smith, and freshman Zack Sobel. Each golfer went 3-0-1 for the event. Wright and Smith each halved their opening round matches, but bounced back with three-consecutive victories each. Sobel notched back-to-back wins to open the tournament before halving his third match and closing out with another win.

Junior Michael Cress and freshman Matt Turner each went 2-2-0 to pace the Buckeyes effort while junior Bo Hoag posted a 1-3-0 mark in the top spot.

Junior Bo Hoag concluded the 35th edition of the prominent Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic tied for 15th at 1-over, Nov. 24 in El Paso, Texas. The 2009 Honorable Mention All-America selection from Upper Arlington, Ohio, had rounds of 69-69-76. The annual event featuring the returning All-America honorees from the previous season was held on the par 71, 6,842-yard El Paso Country Club. Before the tournament began, Hoag won the nine-hole PING Putting contest.

In a poll of more than 160 college golf coaches by, The Ohio State University Golf Club was voted the top college golf course. The poll, released Nov. 17, listed the top 10 college courses and, along with Ohio State, included fellow Big Ten institutions Purdue (No. 4) and Wisconsin (No. 9).

The Ohio State University Golf Club first opened in 1938 and was designed by famed architect Dr. Alister McKenzie. Under the direction of Buckeye legend and golf great Jack Nicklaus it underwent a major renovation in 2005 and reopened in the spring of 2006.

Ohio State placed in the top 6 in three of its four fall events, including a runner-up finish at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic (Oct. 5-6). Twelve of 16 Buckeyes played in team events, with Bo Hoag the lone member to play in all four tournaments.

Hoag is second on the team in stroke average (73.75) with Michael Cress posting the top average (73.40) after five rounds of action. Matt Turner (74.17), Brad Wright (74.78) and Brad Smith (74.88) round out the top 5. Hoag has the lowest round of the season with a 68 fired in the final round of the Memphis Intercollegiate (Oct. 20).

For the first time in 37 years, Ohio State has a new head coach at the reigns in Donnie Darr. He was named coach of the Buckeyes June 13 following a national search and returned to his home state after serving as assistant coach at national powerhouse Oklahoma State the three previous seasons. A 1996 Kent State graduate, Darr began his coaching career at his alma mater. He was the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s golf teams in 2001-02, and was promoted to associate head coach of both programs from 2002-04. Darr also served as assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma during the 2004-05 season.

In July, Darr added Chris Yoder as his assistant coach. Yoder came to the Buckeyes after six years at his alma mater, Wake Forest.  A native of Ashland, Ohio, he assisted under legendary coach Jerry Haas and during his time with the Demon Deacons, he helped haul in some of the most talented recruits in the country, coaching three future PGA Tour players in Bill Haas, Kyle Reifers and Webb Simpson.

Ohio State will hit the links again at the FAU Spring Break Tournament at Delray Beach, Fla., March 26-28.