Buckeyes making first appearance at Marshall Invitational since winning the event in 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s golf team continues its move to the north this weekend when they travel to Huntington, W.Va., for the two-day, 54-hole Marshall Invitational. The event, hosted by Marshall University, will be played April 4-5 at the par 71, 6,476-yard Guyan Golf and Country Club. Teams will play 36 holes on Friday with the final 18 following Saturday.

   Results of the Marshall Invitational will be posted after each round on Marshall’s athletic site, as well as the Ohio State men’s golf page on the official athletics site of the Buckeyes,

Name: Marshall Invitational
Course: Guyan Golf and Country Club (Par 71, 6,476 yards)
Field: 17 teams Marshall (host), Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Ohio State, Penn State, Princeton, Rhode Island, Richmond, William and Mary, Wright State
Friday, April 4: 36 holes (8:30 a.m. shotgun start)
Saturday, April 5: 18 holes (8 a.m. start off Nos. 1 and 10 tees)

   Competing in Huntington for the Buckeyes are senior co-captain Kyle Coconis, juniors Dan Rush and Vaughn Snyder, who is making his Ohio State debut, sophomore Patrick Simard and freshman Bo Hoag.

   The Buckeyes are making their first appearance at the Marshall Invitational since 2004 when they won the event with a score of 5-under 847. Kevin Hall was the individual winner firing a 7-under 206 to set the tournament’s individual scoring record.
   Penn State won a rain shortened 36-hole event last season shooting 3-under 565. The Nittany Lions’ Robert Rohanna won the individual portion with a 5-under 137 total. A Big Ten school has won the Marshall Invitational three out of the past five years.

   The Buckeyes will be one of five Ohio teams playing in the Marshall Invitational this weekend. Along with Ohio State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Miami and Ohio will compete in the event.

   Guyan Golf and Country Club was built in 1922. Designed by Herbert Strong, Guyan was the site of the 1964 U.S. Amateur and numerous U.S. Open Qualifiers. The legendary Sam Snead won the 1936 West Virginia Open played Guyan. Measuring only 6,476 yards, the course makes up for it with small greens, rolling hills and tree-lined fairways. The course rating is 71.2 with a slope of 122 on Bermuda grass.

   Sophomore Patrick Simard will hold a live chat with Buckeye fans Tuesday at 11 a.m. Simard, who has led the Buckeyes in stroke average thoughout the 2007-08 season, will answer fan questions about the team’s season as well as preview the upcoming Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, hosted by Ohio State April 12-13 on its own Scarlet Course. Questions can be submitted before the chat begins on

   The Buckeyes finish in a tie for eighth at the Furman Intercollegiate, March 28-30 in Greenville, S.C. Ohio State totaled 894 for the three-day, 54-hole tournament played at the par 72, 6,825-yard Furman University Golf Course.
   Senior co-captain Kyle Coconis paced the Buckeyes for the event and finished tied for 20th at 7-over 223. The Top 20 finish is his sixth of the season. One stroke back was Bo Hoag who tied for 26th at 224. Sophomore Patrick Simard finished the event tied for 31st with a total of 225. The Marbella, Spain, native had 10 birdies throughout the tournament and finished 7-under in par-5 scoring. Senior co-captain Zach Sebert finished in a tie for 48th at 11-over 227, while freshman Brad Smith finished 21-over to tie for 107th.

   After a tough season last year, the Buckeyes have turned almost all aspects of their game around this season. Twice this year Ohio State has finished a three-round tournament with a total of 847 (-17) after a low team score of 875 last year. Two weeks ago at the Ron Moore Invitational, the Buckeyes recorded a season-low round of 11-under 277. OSU has totaled 12 rounds under 290 thus far into the season after just two a year ago. The team stroke average has dropped from 300.8 per round to a 288.7 mark, a drop of over 12 strokes. In seven tournaments this season, the Buckeyes have finished in the Top 4 four times after just two last year. Overall, Ohio State is 76-30-3 in events this season after wrapping up 2006-07 at 62-76-3.
   Individually, the Buckeyes have dropped over three strokes from their averages just a season ago, from 75.25 to a 72.17 mark through 22 tournament rounds this season. OSU golfers have fired 36 rounds under par this season, including 17 in the 60’s after just two all of last season. Ohio State placed seven in the Top 10 of the individual standings in 2006-07 and already has six this year with at least four events remaining on the schedule.

   Sophomore Patrick Simard got off to a spectacular start for the spring season with a career-low 65 at the tri-match in Orlando Feb. 16 to earn medalist honors. The native of Marbella, Spain, has recorded four rounds in the 60’s this year and eight rounds under-par. Already this season, Simard has finished in the Top 5 three times and Top 20 on four occasions. During the fall campaign, Simard finished in a tie for fourth at the Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Oct. 7-8) and the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 26-28), shooting 7-under and 1-under-par, respectively.

   Fifth-year senior Kyle Coconis has been one of the bright spots for the Ohio State this season and become a cornerstone for the team. After playing sparingly in his first four seasons on the squad, the Zanesville, Ohio, native has broken out this season with a stroke average of 72.1, second-best of the team. Three times this season he has carded a career-low 68, including back-to-back rounds at the Ron Moore Invitational (March 21-23).  Coconis also has achieved the best finish of his career at the Landfall Tradition where he placed second at 4-under 212. He has been one of Ohio State’s most consistent competitors with six Top 20 finishes in seven tournaments and has finished four events under par.

  Five Buckeyes have a stroke average below 74 this season. Patrick Simard leads the way at 71.9, while Kyle Coconis is just behind him with a 72.1 average. Following them is Bo Hoag and Zach Sebert at 72.9 and 73.7, respectively. Brad Smith is averaging 73.8 per round. The five have combined for 17 rounds in the 60’s and 36 rounds under par.

   Freshman Brad Smith was named Big Ten Men’s Golfer of the Week March 26, the second time a Buckeye has won the award this season. Smith recorded two career bests at the Ron Moore Invitational, March 21-23 in Goodyear Ariz. The native of Peru, Ind., fired a career-low 66 in the second round and followed it up the next day with a 2-under 70. He finished the 54-hole event with a total of 7-under 209 to tie for fifth place, a career high. Smith led the field in par 5 scoring at 11-under for the event.
   Ohio State swept the Big Ten Golfer of the Week awards on Feb. 20 with Patrick Simard of the men’s team and Carling Coffing of the women’s team earning the honors. It was the first weekly award for both. The last time a Buckeye earned the weekly laurels for the men’s team was Colin Biles in April 2005. Simard opened the spring season with a career-best round of 65 at a single-round tri-match against Iowa State and Florida Atlantic in Orlando, Fla. The Marbella, Spain, native finished first in the event with his third round in the 60’s this year. Simard helped the Buckeyes win the tri-match by nine strokes for their first victory at an event since the 2004 season.

   The Buckeyes will travel to five states to compete this spring in Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, West Virginia and Michigan. The Buckeyes will welcome teams to Columbus as well when they host the annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate April 12-13. A motivating factor for Ohio State this season is the possibility of a home course advantage at the NCAA Central Regional as the Scarlet Course hosts the event May 15-17.

   Prior to opening the spring season, current and past Buckeyes got together Feb. 9 at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. for an exhibition match. The alumni defeated the current Buckeyes in the 18-hole match-play event. Competing for the alumni team were former Buckeye greats Steve Anderson (1990-93), Colin Biles (2004-07), Kevin Hall (2001-04), Peter Hammar (1985-88), Gary Nicklaus (1988-91) and Curt Sanders (1991-94). The event was hosted by Jack and Gary Nicklaus.

   Freshman Bo Hoag of Upper Arlington, Ohio, was one of the most heralded freshmen in the country during the fall campaign. After capturing the team’s Jack Nicklaus Low Fall Qualifier award with a stroke average of 70.1, Hoag opened his collegiate career with a bang by shooting a 67 at the William H. Tucker Invitational (Sept. 14-15) at the UNM Championship Course, considered the toughest college course by many. He went on to finish ninth in the event. Hoag concluded the fall season with another 67 in the final round of the SSC Pacific Invitational (Nov. 5-7). Combined with a 69 and 68 in the first two rounds, he had a season-best fifth-place finish with a score of 204 (-12).

   The 2007-08 roster boasts two pairs of Ohio high school teammates that will continue to play together wearing Scarlet and Gray. Bo Hoag and Tanner Murphy both played for Upper Arlington High School and led it to the 2007 Ohio High School State Championship. The duo of Michael Cress and Evan Wood helped Dublin Jerome High School win state championships in 2004 and 2005. All four freshmen received all-state honors in their high school careers.

   In November, Ohio State completed its most successful fall campaign in recent memory. In four events played during the fall season, the Buckeyes finished in the Top 4 in three events and never finished lower than eighth. The high point of the season came Oct. 26-28 at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., where the Buckeyes secured a third-place finish.
   Individually, freshman Bo Hoag tied for ninth at the William H. Tucker Invitational (Sept. 15-16) and came in fifth at the SSC Pacific Invitational (Nov. 5-7), sophomore Patrick Simard finished in a tie for fourth at the Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Oct. 7-8) and the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 26-28) and senior Kyle Coconis had a runner-up finish at the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 26-28).

   Ohio State head coach Jim Brown announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent in November. The class includes the top-ranked golfer in Ohio for the class of 2008, Michael Kinkopf of Hilliard, as well as Gary Quinn of Anthem, Ariz., and Jamie Sindelar of Horseheads, N.Y.
   Kinkopf comes to Ohio State from St. Charles High School. As the team captain, he has led the Cardinals in stroke average all four seasons. Kinkopf has won eight individual titles and was runner-up in 12 tournaments. Along with his achievements at St. Charles, he was a USGA Amateur Qualifier Medalist in 2006 with a score of 134 after carding two rounds of 67 as well as the 2006 USGA Jr. Amateur Qualifier Medalist with scores of 72-67139.
   Quinn is a senior at Anthem Boulder Creek High School where he helped the Jaguars win the 2006 Arizona State High School Championship. In the state championship, Quinn fired scores of 65 and 71 to post the third-lowest winning score ever at 136 and earn first team all-state honors. The team was runner-up in 2005. In AJGA events, Quinn had three Top 5 finishes in the summer of 2007 with a stroke average of 72.75 in four tournaments.
   Sindelar, winner of three conference championships at Horseheads High School, is the son of former Buckeye All-American and current PGA Tour member Joey Sindelar. A two-time captain, Jamie Sindelar has played at the No. 1 spot all four years with a high school record of 57-10. He had a nine-hole average of 35.2 as a senior. Sindelar has twice won the New York Junior Championship and finished second at the International Junior Masters. He won the 2007 AJGA Medicus Preseason Junior in Rochester, N.Y.

   Senior Zach Sebert turned in some stellar summer performances and has carried that into the 2007-08 season. He fired rounds of 66-62 to win the Mid-Ohio Invitational in June. Along with the victory, Sebert broke the tournament scoring record by five stokes. In August, he also qualified for the 107th U.S. Amateur held in San Francisco. While he did not advance past stroke play, Sebert, who has played golf for just five years, achieved a major milestone in his young golfing career. 
   Ohio State head coach Jim Brown, the winningest active coach in the NCAA, is in his 35th season at the helm of the Buckeyes. Brown, a 1966 Ohio State graduate, has established his alma mater as one of the top programs in college golf. Under his guidance, the Buckeyes have won 17 Big Ten championships and made 30 NCAA appearances with 11 NCAA Top-10 finishes and an NCAA championship in 1979. Overall, Ohio State has won 158 tournaments under Brown and he has coached 51 All-America selections.

   Brad Sparling was named the Ohio State men’s golf associate head coach, Jim Brown announced Sept. 12. Sparling joined the Buckeyes after three years with the Duke golf teams, including the interim men’s golf head coach in 2007 when he guided them to 13th place at the NCAA championships. He was the associate head coach of the Blue Devils the season before that. Prior to his promotion to associate head coach in 2006, he served as the assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s golf teams.
   During Sparling’s time with the Blue Devils, the women’s team won two NCAA championships as well as two Atlantic Coast Conference championships and the men’s team won its first ACC championship since 1966. The men’s team also concluded two of its seasons ranked in the Top 10 nationally and finished tied for eighth at the NCAA championships in 2005 and 12th in 2006.

   The Buckeyes will conclude their regular-season schedule at home when they host the 39th-Annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate April 12-13 at the Scarlet Course in Columbus. The teams will play 54 holes over two days, beginning with a shotgun start Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Teams will tee off of Nos. 1 and 10 Sunday between 8:30-10:39 a.m.