(Photo courtesy Ohio State Athletic Department)
So, the Ohio State men’s golf team has their first event under their belt, the 2016 Carmel Cup, played at Pebble Beach Golf Links. They finished 8th, of 8 teams, which was a similar finish to their performance last year. However, there is a big difference in the two outcomes that, to me, puts the program in a better light. First, this year’s team improved the team score by 26 strokes. You always want to see year to year improvement, and 26 strokes is a big improvement. Next, this is a different, younger team than last year. Will Grimmer and Josh Wick are the only returning players that teed it up both years. Last year’s team was laden with upperclassmen, this year’s contingent, not nearly so.
Sit Back, Enjoy The Golf
I think that part of the experience of having a relatively youthful team is there will be some unevenness of play. I want to hold up sophomore Daniel Wetterich’s play as an example. He played his first nine holes in his first round in even par (a nice start on a difficult course) but “train wrecked” the first four holes on the back nine. Not a big deal, because he rebounded back to play his next 36 holes in 1 under par. That is an impressive bounce-back. Forget the previous round, play the next shot, move on to the next hole. That’s a nice temperament to have in golf. It also helps to have his skill.
Another example is fellow sophomore Will Grimmer. Will opened play with a first round 74 (+2); nothing great, but still pretty decent. Will followed up by recording 12 birdies in his next two rounds; sub-par rounds of 68 and 69! Will will none of this messing around.
One thing I like about this year’s team (there are several, but bear with me) is that with eleven players on the roster, there will be some very competitive play during “practice” weeks to determine who makes the travel team.
I was surprised not to see Clark Engle on the Carmel Cup squad. I was impressed with his play last season, and with a young team, it will be nice to have him tee it up soon.
All in all, I didn’t think the Carmel Cup experience was bad at all. It gave coaches Moseley and Smith an opportunity to see what this particular lineup looked like (it looked pretty good) afforded the coaches some good teaching points. The Buckeyes tee it up in a couple weeks in Cincinnati (a long way from the Monterey Peninsula) and I’ll be eager to see how they do. The Buckeyes are a young, talented team. This is going to be a fun season.
As a closing note for today, this has got to be a great experience for the Ohio State golfers; great teaching at great facilities and the opportunity to play at “bucket list” courses such as Pebble Beach. I’ve been to the Peninsula and played Spyglass and Cypress, but Pebble is still on The List. Maybe someday…