One of season’s strongest fields awaits Buckeyes in Lone Star State

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s golf team concludes its regular season this weekend at the Aggie Invitational in Bryan, Texas. The 54-hole event, hosted by Texas A&M, is played at the par 72, 7,235-yard Traditions Golf Club and will take place April 18-19. It features one of the strongest fields the Buckeyes will see all season. Four of the 12 teams in the field are ranked in the Top 20 in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, including No. 2 Oklahoma State. 

    Live scoring for the Aggie Invitational will be available online at Links also are available on the men’s golf schedule page on

Name: Aggie Invitational
Course: Traditions Golf Club (Par 72, 7,235 yards)
Field: 12 teams (Golfweek rankings) Baylor (40), Kansas, Kent State (54), Lamar (37), New Mexico (39), Oklahoma State (2), Ohio State (56), San Diego State (27), Texas A&M (20), TCU (16), Texas Tech (12) and Wichita State (90)
Saturday, April 18: 36 holes
Sunday, April 19: 18 holes

   Competing for the Buckeyes will be senior Vaughn Snyder, juniors Patrick Simard and Brad Wright, and sophomores Bo Hoag, Brad Smith and Michael Cress.
    For the second time in three weeks, Ohio State is playing in an event in which each team will have six golfers competing with the Top 5 scores counting towards the team total. 

    Traditions Golf Club is located a mere five miles from the Texas A&M campus in Bryan, Texas. The course, designed by OSU alum Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, is situated in the rolling Texas hill country. Traditions, which opened in 2004, also features many creeks and wetlands, including the Turkey Creek, which meanders throughout the course. The par 72, 7,235-yard course has a slope of 74.5 and course rating of 139.

    In the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings released April 13, Ohio State is ranked 56th in the country. The Buckeyes won the Memphis Intercollegiate earlier this season, which was shortened to 36 holes because of inclement weather, by three strokes over host Memphis. Two weeks ago, the Buckeyes won a quad meet at the Scarlet Course over in-state foes Cleveland State, Dayton and Youngstown State. On the season, Ohio State has a record of 71-50 through nine events.
    Sophomore Bo Hoag is standing at No. 44 in the individual rankings. The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native leads the team with a 72.40 stroke average and has posted Top 10 finishes in three of the past four tournaments with five overall this season.

    The Buckeyes finished fifth in its own 40th Annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, while junior Brad Wright, competing as an individual, became the first Buckeye to win the event since 1996. Ohio State had a three-round total of 55-over 907 in retiring Ohio State head coach Jim Brown’s final home event at the par 71, 7,455-yard Scarlet Course.
    Wright finished at 5-over 218 for the tournament after shooting rounds of 71-71-76. He became the first OSU golfer to win the Kepler since Matt Minister in 1996, who also won it as an individual.
    Sophomore Bo Hoag finished tied for 14th after shooting 74-78-73 for a total of 12-over 225. The only blemish on his weekend was a second round, which kept the Upper Arlington native from securing a fourth-consecutive Top 10 finish. Patrick Simard finished in the 17th position at 13-over 226. Simard shot 73-76-77 over the 54 holes.

    Last weekend’s 40th Annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate marked head coach Jim Brown’s final home event at the helm of the Buckeyes. During his tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeyes won the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate 20 times and produced the medalist on 17 separate occasions, including Brad Wright last weekend. In 1991, under Brown, Ohio State shot a 54-hole Kepler Intercollegiate record 3-over 867. That same year, Buckeye legend Chris Smith shot a then-tournament record 6-under 210 to earn medalist honors. The record has since been tied twice. 

    Legendary Ohio State coach Robert Kepler, for whom last weekend’s tournament is named after, was inducted into the Fairmont High School Hall of Fame Feb. 13. Before Kepler earned national acclaim as a golfer and coach at Ohio State, the 1927 Fairmont graduate earned seven varsity letters for the Dragons in golf, football, tennis and basketball. Kepler finished second in the NCAA tournament in 1932, and later coached the Buckeyes for 27 years (1938-1965).
    Under Kepler, Ohio State built a golfing tradition which was highlighted by an NCAA team championship in 1945 and four NCAA individual champions. One of the winners included Jack Nicklaus in 1961, now universally recognized as the greatest golfer the game has ever known. Kepler also led Ohio State to four Big Ten championships.
    Kepler has earned many honors, including induction into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in 1980.

    Bo Hoag has picked up two Big Ten Golfer of the Week awards this spring. He earned the conference’s Feb. 25 honor with his eighth-place finish, shooting scores of 72-70-73 on the par 72, 6,978-yard Rio Pinar Golf and Country Club.
    The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native then nabbed the March 11 award after tying for third (73-73-73219) at the General Jim Hackler Championship on the par 72, 6,950-yard TPC of Myrtle Beach. Hoag pared 39 of 54 holes and did not record anything higher than a bogey.

    After earning Second Team All-Big Ten laurels his first season, sophomore Bo Hoag has continued his success this season by placing in the Top 10 in five tournaments so far, including three of the past four. He leads the team with a stroke average of 72.40. Hoag won the quad meet at the Scarlet Course two weeks ago posting a 36-hole score of 1-under 141. For his career, Hoag has nine Top 10 finishes in 19 collegiate events. He has now shot under-par on 15 occasions as a Buckeye and had seven sub-70 rounds.

    While they were in South Florida over spring break for the FAU Spring Break Championship, the Ohio State men’s golf team was able to spend some time with the program’s most famous alum, Jack Nicklaus. The Buckeye golfers dined at Nicklaus’ home where they talked about the game of golf with the greatest of all-time.

    Senior tri-captain Vaughn Snyder transferred to Ohio State the middle of last season and made an immediate impact in the Buckeye lineup. The native of Massillon, Ohio, has continued this season by winning two tournaments. Both of Snyder’s victories came during the fall, leading the Buckeyes to a victory at the Memphis Intercollegiate, while he took medalist honors with a score of 6-under 138. A month later he won at the Turtle Bay Resort Intercollegiate at 11-under par.
    For the season, Snyder has shot in the 60’s five times, including a career-low 66 at the FAU Spring Break Championship and two 67’s in Hawaii. To open the spring season, he was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Big Ten Match Play Championship after compiling a 3-0-0 record.

    The Buckeyes will compete in five tournaments this spring that they did not compete in last season after playing in three new ones in the fall. Following the inaugural Big Ten Match Play Championship, Ohio State continued its spring schedule with the familiar Rio Pinar Intercollegiate in Orlando. After playing in the General Jim Hackler Championship to open March, the Buckeyes closed the month in Delray Beach, Fla., for the FAU Spring Break Championship.
    April 4 featured a quad meet at the Scarlet Course in which the Buckeyes topped in-state foes Cleveland State, Dayton and Youngstown State. Last weekend was Ohio State’s own 40th Annual Robert Kepler Intercollegiate also played at the Scarlet Course. Next up, the Buckeyes travel to College Station, Texas, and round out regular-season play at the Aggie Invitational.
    The 2009 Big Ten Championships in State College, Pa., starts postseason play the first weekend of May. NCAA Regional play begins May 14 at six sites: The Club at Olde Stone (Bowling Green, Ky.), Galloway National Golf Club (Galloway, N.J.), Red Tail Golf Club (Sorrento, Fla.), University of Texas Golf Club (Austin, Texas), Karsten Creek Golf Club (Stillwater, Okla.) and Lake Merced Golf Club (Daily City, Calif.). This season, the NCAA championships are only a short distance at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

    Ohio State head coach Jim Brown was the recipient of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by E-Z-GO in cooperation with The PGA of America and the Golf Coaches Association of America. He was presented the award Jan. 26 in Orlando. The Harris Award is given to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game and represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.
    Vaughn Snyder was named Ohio Golfer of the Year by Ohio’s Golf Magazine and the Ohio Golf Group. Along with his two collegiate victories this fall, Snyder won the Ohio Amateur and finished second in the Summit Country Amateur last summer. In July, the Massillon, Ohio, native won the 102nd Ohio Amateur and was the only player in the field to finish under par. He overcame a five-shot deficit in the final round to capture the title.

    As a tune-up for the spring, the alumni bested the current Buckeyes in the annual Alumni Match, 6.5 to 5.5, Feb. 7 at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. The 18-hole event is hosted by Jack and Gary Nicklaus and designed to give Buckeyes both past and present and opportunity to connect with one another. One current player competed against two former players per match.
    Among the past Buckeyes competing were the legendary Jack Nicklaus (1960-61), John Cook (1977-79), Joey Sindelar (1978-81), Gary Nicklaus (1988-91), Ed Sneed (1965-66), Kevin Hall (2001-04), Steve Anderson (1990-93), Rod Spittle (1976-78),Kyle Coconis (2006-08), Curt Sanders (1991-94), Peter Hammar (1985-88) and Mark Balen (1976-79).
    Balen, Sindelar and Cook were all members of Ohio State’s 1979 NCAA Championship team. The group featured 11 All-America awards, including first-team members Jack Nicklaus, Cook and Sindelar, and were part of 13 of Ohio State’s 23 Big Ten championships.

   Ohio State had a successful fall campaign for the second-consecutive season. Ohio State had three Top 5 finishes including a win. Last season, the Buckeyes carried that momentum into the spring and qualified for the NCAA Central Regional. The 2008-09 squad hopes to use the fall as a spring board again. The Buckeyes first place finish at the Memphis Intercollegiate was its first tournament victory since 2004.
    For the fall, the Buckeyes had six rounds in the 60’s, including three from Vaughn Snyder, and 15 rounds under par. Three Buckeyes Snyder, Bo Hoag and Brad Wright competed in all four fall tournament this season. All three carded at least three rounds under par, while Snyder finished in the Top 20 at all four events with two wins. Hoag had two Top 10s and Wright finished in the Top 20 on two occasions.

    Vaughn Snyder competed at the 2009 Jones Cup Invitational at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga. He shot rounds of 76-71-87 to finish tied for 52nd at 18-over. The 54-hole, three-day stroke play event featured one of the strongest fields in amateur golf. The Jones Cup Invitational, a biennial amateur competition, was first contested in 2001.

    This spring, the NCAA will expand the regional format from three sites to six. Each of the six regionals will host 75 players as opposed to 141 previously, with the Top 5 from each region advancing to the NCAA championships.
    The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee changed the format for 2009 with the individual champion determined after 54 holes of play and the Top 8 teams moving on to a final day of match-play. The team with the lowest score after three rounds will play the team with the eighth-lowest score, No. 2 will play No. 7 and so on until a national champion is determined.

    The Buckeyes are earning their frequent flyer miles this season as they travel a total of 11,962 miles to 11 different tournaments, an average of 1,087 miles per trip. Two of the Buckeyes excursion stretch over 1,300 miles, including a 4,498 miles trip to Hawaii. However, if Ohio State advances to the NCAA Championships, it is just a short two hour (120 miles) drive to Toledo. 

    Vaughn Snyder’s stellar play did not end when the fall season came to a conclusion. The senior placed second at the 78th annual Dixie Amateur held Dec. 20-23 at the Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla., where he finished with a four-round total of 275 (-13), two strokes behind medalist Gavin Dear of Scotland. For the week, Snyder carded rounds of 69-65-70-71 on the par 72 course and led all collegiate players in the highly competitive field.

    Zachery Sobel, one of the top recruits of 2009, has signed an NCAA National Letter of Intent to play for Ohio State. A native of Clearwater, Fla., Sobel is ranked as high as fourth in the nation by some recruiting publications. The Palm Harbor University-Medical Magnet School student had three Top 5 finishes in American Junior Golf Association events last summer. He won the AJGA Heritage Junior Championship after shooting rounds of 68-62-71 to finish 15-under. His round of 62 is the lowest round ever recorded in an AJGA event.
    A two-time captain of his high school golf team, Sobel placed third at the Florida State High School Championship and is a four-time winner of the Greater Tampa Bay Junior Championship. In 2007, Sobel made it to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. He also is a standout baseball player as the school’s starting shortstop and has earned seven varsity letters.

    Bo Hoag began his sophomore season by winning the team’s Jack Nicklaus Low Fall Qualifier Award for the second-consecutive season with an average of 69.25 in eight rounds. Hoag is just the sixth Buckeye to break with 70-mark in the 35 years of the award and the first since Colin Biles (69.4) in 2004. It was the third-lowest qualifying average with Doug Wade holding the all-time record at 68.6 in 2001.
    Fall qualifying for the team was held Sept. 12-21. The Buckeyes played eight rounds on the Scarlet Course and one round on the Gray Course at the OSU Golf Club with the highest score thrown out. Hoag, a native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, carded rounds of 69-72-68-70-70-70-69 with his score of 76 thrown out. He topped it off with a 66 on Gray.

    The 2008-09 season will be the last for Ohio State head coach Jim Brown. It will be Brown’s 36th season at the helm of the Buckeyes and 42nd year overall coaching college golf.
    Under his guidance, Ohio State has won a league-record 17 Big Ten championships. The Buckeyes won the conference crown every season from 1976-90, except for 1981 and ’88 when they were runners-up. He has produced 93 All-Big Ten honorees.
    Brown, a native of Martins Ferry, Ohio, has served as the head coach for the Buckeyes since 1974. He is currently the winningest active coach in the NCAA with a career record of 5,609-1,791-43 and 157 tournament victories. In his 35 seasons, Brown has led the Buckeyes to 31 NCAA appearances, including the NCAA Central Regional in 2008, and 11 Top 10 NCAA championship finishes. The Buckeyes won the national championship, the second in program history, in 1979.
    Individually, Brown has tutored an NCAA individual champion in Clark Burroughs (1985), 18 Big Ten medalists, 11 First Team All-America selections and 40 other All-America honorees. Chris Perry was named College Player of the Year in 1984 and Chris Smith earned both Big Ten Freshman of the Year (1988) and Player of the Year (1990) awards under Brown.
    Brown’s student-athletes also have excelled in the classroom. The Buckeyes have received 11 All-America Scholar awards, 55 Academic All-Big Ten honors and 84 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes nods since the inception of both awards in 1987.
    As a coach, Brown was named National Coach of the Year in 1979 and ’86, and District IV Coach of the Year in consecutive seasons from 1977-80 and again from 1982-87. He has earned Big Ten Coach of the Year laurels three times in 1995, ’96 and 2004.

    The Buckeyes will have a week off before heading to State College, Pa. for the 2009 Big Ten Championships, contested May 1-3.