Buckeyes return to tournament action after six-week hiatus ranked 28th in latest Golfweek/Sagarin standings
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After more than a month off, the Ohio State women’s golf team will return to action March 27-29 when it competes at the 37th Annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga. Featuring 18 teams, the three-day, 54-hole event will be played on the par 72, 6,335-yard University of Georgia Golf Course.
Ohio State will begin play Friday with a 9 a.m. tee time on the No. 10 tee. Tee times for Saturday will begin at 9 a.m. and will be determined by Friday’s results. The tournament will conclude Sunday with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
KEEPING AN EYE ON THINGS
Live scoring for the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic will be available at www.golfstat.com. A link to the tournament will also be available at the Buckeye women’s golf schedule page at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
The Tournament: 37th Annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic
The Course: University of Georgia Golf Course (par 72, 6,335 yards)
The Field: 18 teams (Golfweek/Sagarin rankings) Ohio State (28), Alabama (8), Arkansas (16), Auburn (7), Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Georgia (13), Kansas, Kent State (25), Kentucky, LSU (11), Michigan State (17), Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina (14), Oklahoma State (4), Virginia (5) and Wake Forest (6).
Friday, March 27: 18 holes (9 a.m.)
Saturday, March 28: 18 holes (9 a.m.)
Sunday, March 29: 18 holes (9 a.m. shotgun start)
Buckeyes making the journey to Georgia include senior co-captain Gemma Webster, junior co-captain Emma Jandel, sophomore In Hong Lim and freshmen Nara Shin and Vicky Villanueva. Senior Jennifer Cassidy, a native of Dalton, Ga., will return to her home state making the trip as an individual competitor.
Thus far, Shin and Webster have participated in all six of the Buckeyes’ tournaments, while Lim, Villanueva and Jandel have competed in five. This weekend will mark Cassidy’s first event of the season.
The 18 team tournament is the largest field the Buckeyes have competed in this year. However, due to Ohio State’s competitive schedule, the Buckeyes have already teed off against eight of the competitors in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Auburn, Kent State, Florida State, Michigan State, Kentucky and LSU.
In addition to No. 28 Ohio State, Oklahoma State (4), Virginia (5), Wake Forest (6), Auburn (7), Alabama (8), LSU (11), Georgia (13), North Carolina (14), Michigan State (17) and Kent State (25) are also ranked in the Top 30 of the Golfweek/Sagarin weekly rankings released March 22.
After the Buckeye’s sixth place performance at the Central District Invitational Feb. 16-17, Ohio State climbed three places to sit in the 28th position of the Golfweek rankings (March 22). Currently 43-28 after six events, the Buckeyes also stand 24th in the Golfstat.com head-to-head standings released March 25.
The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic falls during university’s spring break for Ohio State. Last year, the Buckeyes spent their break in Austin, Texas, at the Betsy Rawls Invitational where they finished seventh.
On March 2-3, the Buckeyes were set to make their debut appearance at the Pinehurst Challenge in Pinehurst, N.C. However, after making the trip to the state, tournament officials made the decision to cancel the 36-hole event after snow and ice made the Pinehurst No. 6 course unplayable. Unable to get out of North Carolina by plane, the Buckeyes jumped in their vans and road-tripped for eight hours back to Ohio.
OHIO STATE AT THE LIZ MURPHEY
Under head coach Therese Hession, Ohio State has competed at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic 10 times. The Buckeyes’ best finish came in 2003 and again in 2004 when the squad placed second.
Ohio State has not participated in the tournament since 2006 when they placed seventh in the 18 team field with a score of 928. Leading the Buckeyes then was Stephanie Connelly who tied for 12th at 226. Current senior Jennifer Cassidy, who competed as an individual, finished in a tie for 53rd, while classmate Gemma Webster tied for 84th.
In addition to the competitive field, the University of Georgia Golf Course could also provide a challenge for the Buckeye squad this weekend. Designed by architect Robert Trent Jones, the course has played host to three NCAA women’s championships since its opening in 1968 and was crowned one of the Top 50 public golf courses by Golf Digest.
Featuring water on four of its holes, the par 72, 6,335-yard course is composed of Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens.
The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic is one of the oldest collegiate women’s golf tournaments in the country. Now in its 37th year, the tournament began in 1973 as the Georgia Invitational. Later renamed the Women’s Southern Intercollegiate Championship in 1977, the tournament underwent one final name change in 1995 when it was renamed for the University of Georgia’s Hall of Fame coach Liz Murphey.
Since its beginning in 1973, tournament host Georgia has won the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic 13 times and produced 10 medalists.
Last year, regular play ended in a two-way tie between Georgia and Purdue at 36-over 900. Georgia went on to win their 13th title in a playoff, while Maria Hernandez and Christel Boeljon of Purdue tied for first place.
As can be seen by five teams they are facing this weekend ranked in the Top 10, the Buckeyes like the challenge themselves. According to the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin standings released March 22, Ohio State is 19th in strength of schedule. The team has a 43-28 overall record with a 40-28 mark against the Top 100 in the nation.
Two key names on the Buckeye roster have been freshmen Vicky Villanueva and Nara Shin. Participating in every event of her rookie season, Shin posts the lowest stroke average on the team at 77.00. Villanueva, who has competed in five events for the Buckeyes, has the third-lowest average at 77.85. At the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 24-26), the duo helped to lead Ohio State to its season-best second place finish where Villanueva tied for sixth and Shin placed ninth.
LEADING THE WAY
A steady force for the Buckeyes has come in the form of sophomore In Hong Lim. The Melbourne, Australia, native currently boasts the second-lowest stroke average on the team at 77.54 and been Buckeyes’ top-finisher at their last three events.
At the Fort Myers Challenge Jan. 25, Lim concluded the dual competition in second place after carding an 18-hole score of 75. Lim also led Ohio State at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge where she tied for 28th and at the Central District Invitational where she had a season-best tie for 11th.
JUST WARMING UP
The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic will mark Ohio State’s third tournament of the spring, but its first in six weeks. The Buckeyes began with the Fort Myers Challenge Jan. 25, where they fell to Michigan State by four strokes after carding an 18-hole team score of 310.
Ohio State opened tournament play by hosting the 14th Annual Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge Feb. 9-11 in Palos Verdes, Calif. Teeing off against the Top 3 teams in the nation, the Buckeyes finished in 11th place with a score of 951. Ohio State then concluded their February slate at the Central District Invitational Feb. 16-17 where they finished in sixth place after shooting their lowest 54-hole score of the season with a 907 (+43). That was the last time out for the Buckeyes after the cancellation of the Pinehurst Challenge March 2-3.
After playing at the Bryan National Collegiate next weekend, Ohio State will conclude the regular season on its home course when the Buckeyes host the 29th Annual Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, April 18-19 on the OSU Golf Club’s Scarlet Course.
That will (hopefully) not be the last time for the Buckeyes to compete on their home course this season as the Scarlet Course is site of the NCAA Central Regional, May 7-9. Ohio State is in the hunt for its 15th-consecutive NCAA regional appearance and the Buckeyes look to take advantage of a familiar course for its first NCAA championship appearance since 2005.
During her tenure at Ohio State, head coach Therese Hession has made a point to educate her golfers both on and off the course. With the fairways blanketed in snow, Hession breaks up indoor practices in the off-season with different speakers and activities every Wednesday. Read more about it on the women’s golf page on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
For the 18th year, the Buckeyes are lead by head coach Therese Hession. A former LPGA professional, Hession has molded the Ohio State golf program into one with a strong tradition of excellence. In her time at Ohio State, Hession has led the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten championships, 10 NCAA championship appearances and 14-consecutive NCAA regional appearances. Hession is an NGCA Hall of Famer and six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year awardwinner.
Assisting Hession is former Buckeye Amy Langhals. Now in her fourth year at the assistant coach position, Langhals was recently inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame by the Varsity “O” Association. While at Ohio State, Langhals was a three-time All-Big Ten selection as well as the 1997 Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year.
The Buckeyes will return to North Carolina for the fourth time this season when they travel to Greensboro for the Bryan National Collegiate, April 3-5.