(Photo courtesy Ohio State Athletics Department. Tournament information courtesy of Ohio State Athletics Department and USC Athletics Department. Tournament scoring and statistics courtesy of Birdiefire)
Welcome to the Monday afternoon Gifford Cup recap. The Buckeyes started slow in the morning session, but picked up the pace as the round concluded. They faced Oregon State in one of the afternoon matches in the consolation bracket. Hopefully their late round surge in their opening match carried over to the afternoon… Here is the link to the tournament information and Buckeye results.
A brief reminder:
Course: The course is set up at 6,294 yards, playing to par 72.
Format: This is a five-player match play event. A team wins it’s match, it moves on. A team loses, it plays in the consolation brackets. Teams can also field a player to participate in Individual round-robin match play.
Field: This is an 8 team field, as the event name indicates. with five teams currently ranked in Golfstat’s Top 30. Below are the teams, rankings and first round matches.
#2 USC, #66 Oregon State, #22 Purdue, #27 Ohio State, #8 Georgia, #36 Colorado, #9 UCLA, #40 Oregon.
Ohio State lineup
Team Match Play: Jaclyn Lee, Katja Pogacar, Jessica Porvasnik, Niki Schroeder, Rio Watanabe. Alex Wright will represent Ohio State in the Individual match play competition.
As in the morning session, the matches began on hole #10.
This session was marked by some contrasts. There were two closely played matches and two matches that were pretty much over after nine holes.The Buckeyes maintained their late morning momentum to defeat Oregon State 3-2 in a closely contested set of individual matches.
Niki Schroeder won her match 6&5. Jaclyn Lee won her match 1-up. Jessica Porvasnik and Katja Pogacar halved their matches. Rio Watanabe, lost her match 5&4.
In the battle of the “Ni.Schroeder’s”, Ohio State’s Niki demolished her Oregon State opponent, Nicole Schroeder, 6&5. Niki scorched the back nine with a -4 (2 birdies, 1 eagle) and held a 5-up lead at the turn. The players matched pars on the first three holes of their back nine, then Niki won won the match with a bogey on the 4th hole. That was a dominating performance. Well done. (I’ve been on both ends of 6&5 decisions. It’s a lot more fun being on the winning end of a contest like that. It seems like there isn’t one shot that you can’t pull off.)
Rio finished with a flourish in the morning match, but was unable to keep her momentum going in the afternoon round, losing 5&4. She was down 6 holes after 9 holes, which pretty much iced the match. This is just one of those rounds where nothing seemed to work. It happens. The sun will still rise Tuesday morning for Rio.
Jessica was plagued by bogeys on her back nine. At two instances on the final nine holes, she held 2-up leads, but just couldn’t close the match out. Jessica held a 1-up lead with one hole to play, but a final bogey enabled her opponent to halve the match with a par. That’s too bad, because Jessica played solid golf throughout most of the match.
Katja rebounded with a strong start to her afternoon match, holding a 2-up lead through five holes. However, she had a six hole stretch with four bogeys that let her opponent back in the match. In fact, Katja was 1-down with 2 holes to play, but a strong par-par finish halved the match and earned a half point for Ohio State.
Jaclyn started her match strong and played steady golf through 11 holes to hold a 4-up lead. At that point, her opponent played the next 6 holes in -1 to pull within 1 hole with 1 to play. Fortunately, Jaclyn regained her form with a par on the final hole to win her match.
I think the Buckeyes played much better in the afternoon matches. There were a couple instances where matches could have gotten away from them, but again, some late round heroics saved the day.
Ohio State faces off against Georgia, 4-1 winners against Oregon, in the 5th place match. The match gets underway, pending any fog delays, at 11:50 ET. I’ll have final match recap later Tuesday afternoon. Please stop back.