(Team photo and tournament information courtesy of Ohio State Athletics Department. Tournament scoring and statistics courtesy of Golfstat)

The Buckeyes travel to Cincinnati, OH to defend their Big Ten Championship. The tournament will be played on the TPC River’s Bend course. It is a 54-hole event, with the first round scheduled for Friday, the second round Saturday and the final round on Sunday. Tee times off  holes #1 and #10 for all three rounds.

The Course

The TPC course was set up to a length of 6,357 yards and play to par 72.

This is a parkland course, set amidst trees, not much water and a few bunkers in the landing areas and siding most greens. A player is going to have to manage herself around the various obstacles.

The Format

This is a “play 6, count 4” format. With the 6th player, this gives teams a bit more wiggle room in the scoring.

The Field

The 14 team field includes several ranked teams in the Golfstat Top-40 rankings. The contestants (alphabetically and Golfstat ranking) are:

#29 Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, #33 Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, #12 Northwestern, #30 Ohio State, Penn State, #24 Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will tee it up with:

1 — Jaclyn Lee | So. | 73.28 avg. (25 rounds)
2 — Jessica Porvasnik | Sr. | 73.84 avg. (25 rounds)
3 — Katja Pogacar | Sr. | 74.04 avg. (23 rounds)
4 — Niki Schroeder | So. | 74.60 avg. (25 rounds)
5 — Rio Watanabe | r-Jr. | 74.71 avg. (21 rounds)
6 — Zoe-Beth Brake | r-Sr. | 76.22 avg. (18 rounds)

This is the the Ohio State University lineup. Coaches Hession/Snider are fielding the Core Four (Jaclyn. Jessica, Katja, Niki).  Rio has played well the last few rounds. Zoe-Beth has had success in this event (2nd in 2014). This could be fun.

This is the last Conference Championship for Jessica, Katja and Zoe-Beth. As seniors, they’ll be moving on after this season. They have won three consecutive B1G Championships. They want a 4th.

That’s the set-up. How’d it go?

Recap

Well, actually pretty well. The Buckeyes ended day one in 4th place, with a team score of 296, +8 to par. This is a testament to their tenacity; they carded 8 double bogeys and a triple bogey and still had a good round. Some cleaner play and this could have been a spectacular round for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes were led by Jaclyn Lee 72 (E) and Rio Watanabe 74 (+2). Katja Pogacar,  Niki Schroeder and Jessica Porvasnik all shot 75 (+3). Zoe-Beth Brake rounded out the scoring with an 81 (+9).

 

We Have Stats

For the day, Ohio State has played the par 3’s to an average of 3.10 strokes, +2 to par, which ranked them 3rd in that category. They played the par-4’s to 4.30, +15 to par, ranking them 5th. The par 5’s were played to an average of 4.70, -6 to par, ranking them 1st.

The Buckeyes excelled in the “scoring” holes, the par 3s and par 5s, while playing better than average on the par 4s. This was a well played round.

Ohio State carded 46 pars, ranking them T-9th in this metric. Their 20 birdies ranked them 1st by a wide margin; Penn State had the 2nd most birdies with 14.

Let’s see how the players did:

Jessica

Jessica started out pretty … mediocre. She was +4 after 3 holes.  She stabilized her round, thanks to 5 birdies, to play the final 15 holes in -1 to par. With her start, Jessica’s round could have gone south in a hurry, but she bounced back in a big-time manner.

Jaclyn

Jaclyn had a bad (2 double bogeys) and very good (6 birdies) round to keep Ohio State in the hunt. Her back nine 34 (-2) really helped the Buckeyes after an ‘okay’ team front nine..

Katja

Katja again cruised along in her opening round. Although she had a double bogey, she cleaned things up with 2 birdies and 12 pars. Aside from about 10 minutes of play, this was a solid round.

Niki

Niki cruised along for her first 13 holes, sitting at -1 to par. At that point she was OSU’s low scorer. Unfortunately, things went side-way with a triple bogey and two bogeys over the next four holes. Fortunately, she birdied her final hole to salvage her round. Birdies will do that.

Zoe-Beth

Zoe-Beth had a round of ‘step forward, two steps back’. She did record 3 birdies, but 6 bogeys and 3 double bogey wrecked her round. She has two more rounds, so I wouldn’t worry too much out Zoe-Beth, she’ll be fine come the weekend.

Rio

Rio bumped it around a bit on her front nine holes (+4) , but lit up the back nine in a (-2) to finish with the second lowest Buckeye opening day score. Rio seems to be peaking for post-season play.

 

Buckeye scores:

B1G Championships Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
Team 296 0 0 296
Niki Schroeder 75 0 0 75
Jessica Porvasnik 75 0 0 75
Jaclyn Lee 72 0 0 72
Katja Pogacar 75 0 0 75
Rio Watanabe 74 0 0 74
Zoe-Beth Brake 81 0 0 81

 

A Few Takeaways

  • Despite getting beat up on the par-3, 5th hole, the Buckeyes played the other par 3s very well. In these post-season events, you need to score well on the scoring holes (par 3s and par 5s).
  • Speaking of par-5s, the six Buckeyes spun their wheels (+5) on the par-5,  6th hole, then absolutely torched the remaining par-5s (-13)!
  • Every player had at least one double/triple bogey. Every player also had at least two birdies. Higher scores are easier to eliminate than birdies are to achieve.  This team could be setting itself up for another championship run this weekend.

Ohio State had some holes that really got away from them, but I was impressed with their “quick composure” to follow up with runs of good scoring.

So, at the end of the 1st round, the Buckeyes are in 4th place, 8 strokes behind leader Northwestern. For comparison, in last yer’s B1G Championships, Ohio State ended the first day in 9th place, eight strokes off the pace. No need to panic. Ohio State is well within striking range.

Up Next

Saturday’s 2nd round of the B1G Championships.