Oct. 20, 2005
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 15 Ohio State women’s golf team heads to Knoxville, Tenn, Oct. 21-23 for the Mercedes-Benz Championships. The event will be held over three days on the par 71 Cherokee Country Club (5,932 yds.). First-round action is scheduled to begin with a 8:30 a.m. start Friday. The second round is set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday and the final round will begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com.
The field of 14 teams includes a mix of Big Ten teams and one international team. Also competing in the tournament are eight teams ranked in Golfweek’s rankings.
Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kent State, Michigan State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, SMU, Tennessee, Tulane and the Swedish Junior National Team will all be competing.
Buckeyes at the Mercedes-Benz
Ohio State has competed in the Mercedes-Benz Championships twice, with the most recent time being last season when the squad won the tournament. Then-senior Lindsay Knowlton was the highest Buckeye finisher (3rd).
The Line-up This Week
1. Carling Coffing
2. Dana Je
3. Stephanie Connelly
4. Brittany Adams
5. Jennifer Selfinger
Freshman Jessica Hauser will be competing in the tournament as an individual.
The Lady Tar Heel
In the second tournament of the season, Ohio State traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Lady Tar Heel Invitational.
Finishing 7th of the 17 teams, the Buckeyes shot a total of 905. Carling Coffing was the highest finisher for the Buckeyes. She tied for the No. 11 spot (221). Coffing also had the best round of the tournament for OSU, recording a 71 (-1) in the second round of the event.
In The Golfweek Rankings
After two tournaments this season, the Buckeyes find themselves No. 15 nationally. Duke tops the national rankings, followed by UCLA. In the regional rankings, Ohio State follows Oklahoma State at the Top 2 position in the central region.
Season Opener in New Mexico
Ohio State opened the 2005-06 season Sept. 26-28 with a trip to Albuquerque, N.M., for the UNM Dick McGuire Invitational. The Buckeyes finished the three-day event fifth (886).
Ohio State tied for the tournament’s low round, with a 287 in the opening round. Pepperdine, the tournament champion, tied the 287 in the final day of the event.
Jennifer Cassidy, a freshman from Dalton, Ga., led the Buckeyes throughout the competition. She recorded Ohio State’s lowest round (69) on the opening day of play. She finished the event tied for sixth, after shooting 2-under par (217).
This year will bring a new challenge to the Buckeyes at home as the Scarlet Course is renovated throughout the year. The changes will bring a new feel to the old course, first built in 1938. Accuracy will be a key to success along with length off the tee. The greens have been expanded to bring the bunkers closer and allow only a small margin of error in the short game. Head coach Therese Hession believes it will pose one of the toughest challenges the student-athletes have ever seen. Currently, the Scarlet Course is ranked among the top college facilities in the nation by Golf Digest. The renovations are expected to move Ohio State’s facility up to one of, if not the top spot, nationally. The course is being overseen by Ohio State alum Jack Nicklaus.
The Buckeyes also will benefit from a new practice facility. Current plans indicate more than 22 shots can be practiced on the new pitching area.
“It will be fantastic because the team can really work on their short game,” Hession said. “I’m a big believer in that part of the game.”
Going For Five
The Buckeyes have their sights set on consecutive Big Ten title No. 5 when they compete in the Big Ten tournament April 28-30 in Bloomington, Ind. The championship will take place at the par-72, 6,142 yard IU Championship Golf Course.
“I really think we’re going to be a contender,” Hession said. “I have no doubt about it. Even with as many new players that might make the lineup, the championship isn’t until the end of April and we’ll have a lot of time to work and develop their games. I think the tournament will be an interesting shoot out and I’m interested in getting out and playing with them (the league) to see how we stack up.”
A Trio of Seniors
Ohio State will seek guidance from the team’s three seniors – Brittany Adams, Erin Borowiec and Jennifer Selfinger. Selfinger brings the most experience to the team with two trips to the national tournament under her belt. She was an instrumental part of the team that finished fourth at the 2003 NCAA Tournament. She was named second team All-Big Ten last season following a third-place finish with a score of 226 in Ann Arbor, Mich. She helped the Buckeyes tie for sixth place at the 2005 NCAA Championships in Sunriver, Ore.
Adams played well in the spring a year ago, making her first trip to the Big Ten tournament. She recorded her best finish last season at the Lady Northern Invitational with a tie for 28th place.
While Borowiec has not seen much action competitively, she will challenge for a spot in the lineups throughout the season, using the experience gained throughout her career.
“We’ll be looking for some leaders to step up with this many new people,” Hession said. “They’re going to have their hands full.”
New Faces to the Program
This season brings a quartet of fresh faces to the program. Stephanie Connelly, Jessica Hauser, Jennifer Cassidy and Gemma Webster will join the team for the 2005-06 season. Each will look to contribute and fill the gaps left in the lineup. Connelly, from Pasadena, Md., will join the team as the most veteran of the three freshmen. A two-time POLO/AJGA Junior All-American, Connelly won three Maryland high school state titles. She won the 2003 AJGA Taylor-Made Adidas at Bentwood event and has four PGA junior series wins.
Hauser adds quality mechanics along with experience. The 2004 Wisconsin Player of the Year, from Hartland, Wis., won her first AJGA tournament over the summer and helped lead her high school team to the 2004 state championship. Individually, she was the runner-up in the state tournament the past two years.
Cassidy has six Top 10 and two Top 5 AJGA finishes. Joining the team from Dalton, Ga., she will compete for a lineup spot as she continues to build tournament experience throughout her first collegiate campaign.
Completing the quartet is Webster, a Glasgow, Scotland, native. Webster has a proven swing and adds greater depth to the roster. A member of the Scottish national team, Webster was the runner-up in the 2002 Scottish Girls Championship.
“They love to play,” Hession said of the newcomers. “They’re pretty tournament savvy. I think they’ll make an impact. They’re going to bring a lot of energy and a nice shot in the arm while lifting people’s spirits because they badly want to play.”
Rounding out the Roster
Dana Je and Carling Coffing complete the 2005-06 roster. Je returns for her junior campaign following a successful run at both the conference and national tournaments last year. She earned second-team all-conference honors after tying for fourth at the Big Ten tournament and was named to the All-NCAA Regional Team following the Buckeye’s win of the East Regional tournament.
Coffing adds depth and experience after a strong freshman campaign. She was a member of the Big Ten and NCAA lineup and she also contributed to the lowest team score, 856, in school history at the NCAA East Regional tournament, won by Ohio State.
“Carling and Dana will add a lot to our team,” Hession said. “Dana has more experience then Carling but they’re both good players. I think we’re going to be leaning on them as well as our seniors for leadership this year.”
A New Assistant
Amy Langhals rejoins the Ohio State women’s golf program this season, returning as the team’s new assistant coach. Langhals competed for the Buckeyes from 1993-97.
In her first season with the Scarlet and Gray, Langhals was named the 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year after claiming the Purdue Spring Invitational. As a senior, Langhals was instrumental to winning the 1997 Big Ten Championships, walking away with medalist honors. She was named Ohio State’s Female Athlete of the Year following the season.
Langhals was a member of the LPGA tour in 2001 and 2002 and competed in two U.S. Women’s Open championships in 2001 and 2004.
It All Comes Back Home
The 2005-06 schedule will provide a variety of preparation and experience for the relatively untested Buckeyes. With a quality national schedule, Hession wants to provide her student-athletes with the best experiences and competition available. The team will send a lineup to three tournaments in the fall, kicking off with the University of New Mexico McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., the site of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The squad then travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Lady Tar Heel Invite and Knoxville, Tenn., for the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Invite.
“In the fall I kind of get a feel for the players’ games,” Hession said. “Then I have all of January and February to really work on their weaknesses so when we come out in March, we’re ready to go.”
The spring leg of the season will open with the Northrop Grumman Regional in Palos Vardes, Calif., hosted by Ohio State. The team travels to the Central District Invitational, Cal Invitational, Liz Murphey Invitational and the Peg Barnard Invitational before they host their second tournament, the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, at the OSU Scarlet Course near the end of April.
Following the Big Ten championship in Bloomington, Ind., and the NCAA Regional championship, the Buckeyes will come back home to host the 2006 NCAA Championships May 23-26.
“We’re looking forward to hosting nationals,” Hession said. “It’s a privilege to host it and one we’re really looking forward to. Our players are proud of what we have here and I think it’s neat that the rest of the country gets to see what we’re all about.”