(Team Photo courtesy Ohio State Athletic Department. I’m using it again, it’s a great team pic. And, again; tournament information courtesy of http://www.golfstatresults.com and general team information courtesy of OSU Athletics Dept)
Due to some very well played golf, Ohio State was the #1 seed in the East & Wet Match Play Challenge. Their 1st round opponent was #4 seed Oregon, who qualified with a team stroke play score of +7 to par. A good score, but not as good as Your Favorite Team…
Now we enter into my favorite competitive golf format – match play. Stroke play is fine – it’s ‘you’ against the field. You really don’t know how you stand, so you just load it up and tee it up. Pretty straight-forward golf. In match match, the game changes significantly; it’s mano a mano; you vs your playing opponent. I think this is a bit more sophisticated form of golf. You are playing, and scoring, alongside your opponent, so you know exactly where you stand in the competition. The extra ‘layer’ of competition is due to not playing the course, but playing your opponent. Over the course of the match, you are in the positions of forcing the style of play or reacting to the style of play. It is a very interesting format.
Scoring: A player wins her match by winning (shooting the lower score) on more holes than her opponent. If a player is “up”, she has won more holes than her opponent. For example, if Jaclyn is “3-up”, she has won 3 more holes than her opponent. If a player id “dormie”, she is ahead as many holes as there re to play in the match. For example, if Jaclyn were “dormie 2”, she would be 2 holes “up” with 2 holes to play.
Enough of that, on to the round one matches.
The Buckeyes lost a closely contested match to Oregon, 3-2 on Monday. The deciding match was won by Oregon “in extra innings”, on the 19th hole. As you’ll see, below, these were some closely contested matches, as will happen at this level of golf. You can probably tie in some Shakespearean drama to this outcome, but it’s match play, so nothing is foreordained.
The Buckeyes play Kentucky on Tuesday for 3rd place. Stop by for the recap
Jessica Porvasnik – Jessica was 3-up after 9 holes, always a good position to be in. She shot a -1 (35). Sub-par rounds always help. On the back 9, Jessica played mistake-free par golf to close out her opponent 2 & 1. She had the lead and cruised on the back 9; a very well played match by Jessica.
Alex Wright – Alex was 1-down at the turn. She shot a +3 (39). Interestingly, Alex had no 4’s on her card; it was either a ‘5’ or a ‘3’. Alex really had a game back nine holes. She’d held serve through #16, still being down 1 hole with 2 holes to play. The 17th hole is a 370 par-4. Alex does her part by parring. However, her opponent birdies the hole to close out the match.
Rio Watanabe – Rio was all square at the turn. Both she and her opponent shot -1 (35). This was a very well played front 9. They ended their 18 hole match at all square. Unfortunately, a bogey by Rio on the extra (19th) hole fell short as her opponent parred the hole.
Niki Schroeder – To be blunt, Niki got her head handed to her. Her round of +4 (40) had her 5-down at the turn. That’s a bad position to be in. Things didn’t improve for Niki on the back nine holes. She couldn’t cut into her opponent’s lead, and fell 6 & 4.
Jaclyn Lee – Jaclyn continued her solid play with an even par 36 to stand at 1-up through 9 holes. She won holes #13-#15 to put this match away, 4 & 3.
This (match play) was a good good experience for the girls. Disclosure; being (theoretically) old enough to be some of these players grandfather, I use the term “girls’ with affection and respect. Just so that’s clear to all. It’s a great venue to highlight the vagaries of golf. Sometimes, the better played shot doesn’t work out.
I’ve been on both side of this in my match play history. I’ve carved 4-irons around trees to with 4 feet of the hole and I’ve holed putts that I intended to lag. I’ve also seen my opponent (to whom I was giving 5 strokes a side) hole out for birdie on consecutive holes to send me packing. That’s that way it goes.
My takeaway is they payed very well in the stroke play competition, which will be the bulk of their upcoming matches and were game in the stroke play portion, which they probably don’t play as often. This was a nice “experiential” event for the players; nice job by coaches Hession, Snider and the Athletic Department for scheduling this.