Buckeyes win by 14 strokes with rookie Rachel Rohanna finishing runner-up by a shot

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The sun was shining on Scarlet and the Buckeyes were feeling good. For the second-consecutive year, the Ohio State women’s golf team took advantage of playing on familiar territory, winning the 2010 Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational by 14 strokes Sunday in Columbus.

With five players finishing in the top 10, 21st-ranked Ohio State fended off fellow Big Ten teams No. 10 Michigan State and Northwestern throughout the final 18 holes to pick up its 13th victory at the annual event and first win of the season after two runner-up finishes.

“It’s always good to win a tournament and to defend here at home meant a lot to the team,” Therese Hession, 19-year Ohio State head coach, said. “It’s nice going into Big Tens with a win. They know they can do it and it was fun for them to be leading most of the way and have that pressure on them and do well.”

The Buckeyes fired a final round of 304 to match their opening score on their own par 72, 6,275-yard Scarlet Course and totaled 919 (+55) during the two-day, 54-hole event. Ohio State previewed eight of their 10 opponents it will face next weekend at the Big Ten championships.

The win was not only Hession’s 37th victory at OSU, but the first back-to-back Lady Buckeye victories since taking four-straight titles between 1998 and ’01. Ohio State had not produced consecutive wins at the same tournament since winning the Big Ten crown each year from 2002-05.

It was a tough battle for second, with Michigan State jumping past Northwestern on the last 18 holes with a total of 933. The Spartans also found a medalist in Laura Kueny who snuck past Buckeye freshman Rachel Rohanna in the final holes. Firing the low round of the Lady Buckeye with a 73, Kueny concluded the tournament at 227.

Just shy of her first college win, Rohanna finished in second at 228. Carding her second top 5 finish, the rookie from the Waynesburg, Pa., opened with back-to-back bogeys, but found birdies on hole Nos. 6 and 15 to card a final round of 76.

“I just wanted to go out there and play the best I could,” Rohanna said. “I wanted to win it, I’m not going to lie. I wanted to go out there, go for pins, and make the birdies. That was about it, I just wanted to stick to how I had always played this course.”

Tying for fourth was the duo of junior In Hong Lim and senior captain Emma Jandel. Securing their highest finishes of the season, the pair each shot a final round of 77 for a total of 232. Remaining in the top 5 throughout the tournament, the finish was the highest of Jandel’s career.

Freshman Susana Benavides closed the tournament with an 80 to tie for sixth at 234. Also in the top 10 was fellow rookie Amy Meier who tied for 10th. After back-to-back rounds of 81, Meier improved in day two with a round of 74 that included three birdies.

Rounding out the Buckeye lineup was sophomore Vicky Villanueva, who fired her lowest round of the event with a 78 to tie for 17th at 238.

Competing as an individual, sophomore Nara Shin notched an 86 to tie for 49th at 248.

The Buckeyes will have just a few days off before they begin postseason play at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, April 23-25, in Madison, Wis.

And although Ohio State soared to the top of the leaderboard this week, Hession and the Buckeyes know it will be a battle against the conference.

“We’re going to have our hands full next week.”

Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational – Final
Scarlet Course, The Ohio State University Golf Club, Columbus, Ohio
Par 72, 6,275 yards

Team Standings Scores
1.  Ohio State   304-311-304-919 (+55)
2.  Michigan State   317-314-302-933 (+69) 
3.  Northwestern    316-308-313-937 (+73) 
4.  Kent State    324-318-305-947 (+83) 
5.  Iowa State    325-309-315-949 (+85) 
6.  Indiana    330-311-311-952 (+88) 
7.  Minnesota    326-321-315-962 (+98) 
8.  Wisconsin    326-321-321-968 (+104) 
9.  Illinois    329-332–317-978 (+114) 
10. Iowa    333-329-325-987 (+123) 
11. Penn State    338-336-320-994 (+130) 
12. Youngstown State   346-331-330-1,007 (+143) 

Ohio State Results Scores   
2. Rachel Rohanna 75-77-76-228 (+12)
T-4. In Hong Lim  79-76-77-232 (+16)
T-4. Emma Jandel  76-79-77-232 (+16)
T-6. Susana Benavides  74-80-80-234 (+18)
T-10. Amy Meier  81-81-74-236 (+20)
T-17. Vicky Villanueva  81-79-78-238 (+22)
T-49. Nara Shin   86-76-86-248 (+32)