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

The Buckeyes gear up for a busy week at the NCAA Championships, May 19 – May 24. Three days, 54 holes, of stroke play begin on the 19th. Assuming the Buckeyes advance as one of top 15 teams, they play another 18 holes (May 22) to try to make the cut to the final eight teams.

In addition, should OSU not qualify, their players can qualify to play in the Individual class of competition. There is a lot going on and a lot to play for. The players cannot take any holes off. Every stroke counts this week.

 

The Course

The host course is Rich Harvest Farms (Sugar Grove, IL)  is set up to a length of 6,343 yards and play to par 72.

This is a parkland course, set amidst trees, water and a few bunkers added for good measure. This is a tough layout to score well on; it has good length and with so many trees, you’d better be very accurate with your tee shots.

The Format

This is a “play 5, count 4” format for 72 holes of stroke play qualifier. After 54 holes, the field will be cut to 15 teams. After 72 holes, the top eight teams will advance to match play to determine the team champion.

Additionally, at the 54 hole cut, the top nine players from teams failing to make the cut advance in Individual play. There is a lot going on this week.

The Field

The Teams

The 24 team field, as you’d expect, is loaded. The teams are listed alphabetically and their (Golfstat national ranking).

Alabama (2), Arizona State (7), Baylor (17), California (21), Clemson (37), Duke (8), Florida (3), Florida State (5), Furman (9), Kent State (14), Miami (FL) (13), Michigan (28), Michigan State (44), North Carolina (35), Northwestern (12), Ohio State (25), Oregon (38), Pepperdine (31), Purdue (24), South Carolina (11), Stanford (1), Texas (16), Texas Tech (30), USC (6)

Individuals

Below are the Individual participants (school):

Susie Cavanagh (Oregon State), Martina Edberg (Cal State Fullerton), Laura Fuenfstueck (College of Charleston), Cara Gorlei (Arkansas), Jennifer Kupcho (Wake Forest), Bianca Pagdanganan (Gonzaga), Camila Serrano (FIU), Julienne Soo (Oklahoma), Maddie Szeryk (Texas A&M), Maya Walton (Princeton), Alex White (BYU), Nadine White (Campbell)

The Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will tee it up with:

1 — Jaclyn Lee | So. | 73.35 avg. (31 rounds)
2 — Katja Pogacar | Sr. | 73.93 avg. (29 rounds)
3 — Jessica Porvasnik | Sr. | 74.32 avg. (31 rounds)
4 — Niki Schroeder | So. | 74.61 avg. (31 rounds)
5 — Rio Watanabe | r-Jr. | 74.89 avg. (27 rounds)

That’s the set-up. How’d it go?

Recap

This was a tough track on a tough day. The temperatures were in the mid-40’s, winds were +/-15 mph (wind chill mid-high 30’s) and rain. These were the weather conditions where, if you didn’t have to play, you wouldn’t. Okay, that takes care of the weather report.

Ohio State finished their opening round with the T-3rd best score of 311 (+23). In absolute terms, the +23 score doesn’t appear too good. However, in relative terms, it is fairly decent. Now, remember, Ohio State doesn’t need to win this stage; they just need to finish in the top 15 to move on to the 4th round of stroke play. Since Phase II is to finish in top 8, a higher finish is better.

So, to put keep things in context. In mild, temperate weather, a round of +23 makes you head immediately to the parking lot. In Friday’s inclement weather, a +23 is an extraordinary score.

The Buckeyes were led by Katja Pogacar 74 (+2). Niki Schroeder 78 (+6) and Jaclyn Lee 79 (+7) contributed to the team score, as did Jessica Porvasnik 80 (+8). Rio Watanabe 82 (+12) rounded out the scoring.

We Have Stats

Ohio State has played the par 3’s to an average of 3.35 strokes, +7 to par, which ranked them 10th in that category. Their 3.35 average was exactly what they shot in the 1st round of the NCAA Regionals. They played the par-4’s to 4.42, +21 to par, ranking them 7th. The par 5’s were played to an average of 5.25, +5 to par, ranking them T-8th.

Ohio State carded 48 pars, ranking them T-7th in this metric. Their 8 birdies ranked them T-2nd.

Let’s see how the players did:

Jaclyn

Jaclyn cruised through her first six holes at even par, glanced off a double bogey on #8 and made the turn at +3. After a par on the 10th hole, she alternated ‘par-bogey’ to close her round. On a course that was playing very tough, Jaclyn had 12 pars and only 1 double bogey. Not a bad start.

Jessica

Jessica began her round par-par, but couldn’t maintain momentum. She had a sprinkle of bogeys with a double bogey on #6 to finish her front nine at +5. On her back nine, Jessica was +1 through 7 holes until a bogey-bogey finish brought her in at 80.

Katja

Katja had a well played round. After her 2nd birdie of the day on #10, she was at -1. She was even par through 16 holes until a double bogey stalled her round on #17, but she finished with a closing par for her 74. This was the low-mid 70’s round the Buckeyes needed.

Niki

Niki had… contrasting nines. Her front nine of +6 wasn’t that hot. During this stretch, she had three of OSU’s total seven double bogeys. That’s struggling. However, her back nine was a work of art; 2 birdies, 2 bogeys and and even par score – the bast back nine turned in by the Buckeyes.  Hopefully, Niki can maintain her momentum into tomorrow’s round.

Rio

Rio had a tough round, but was actually close to the field average of 81 strokes. She had 2 of OSU’s 8 birdies, but also a double bogey and 10 bogeys. Everything was just a bit off for her. I bet the weather had something to do with it. It doesn’t take too much to flip first round bogeys into second round pars, so I’m not too worried at this point.

Buckeye scores:

NCAA Championships Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
Team 311 0 0 311
Jaclyn Lee 79 0 0 79
Katja Pogacar 74 0 0 74
Jessica Porvasnik 80 0 0 80
Niki Schroeder 78 0 0 78
Rio Watanabe 82 0 0 82
Team To Par 23 0 0 23

 

A Few Takeaways

  • The average score for the field was a bit over 81 strokes. Ohio State’s scoring looks pretty good.
  • Conditions like today’s round are somewhat a physical test (wet grips, etc.) but more so a mental and character test. Anyone’s who’s golfed has experienced this; at some point you just want to get the hell off the golf course to someplace warm and dry.
  • This was a good day for OSUWG. In deplorable conditions they faced down other top teams in the country and played well.
  • Ohio State gritted this round out. The first goal is to place in the top 15 after three rounds; then advance by being one of top 8 teams after four rounds.

I think the Buckeyes are in pretty good shape at this point.  Below, via The Weather Channel, is he Friday evening and Saturday forecast for Chicago area. It appears to be a bit warmer, but wet & windy. Buckeyes, dry your grips and rain suits, make sure you have an extra towel or two. Also, bring your patience; in wet conditions the course is going to play a lot longer than what the scorecard shows. You know you can do this…

DAY

DESCRIPTION HIGH / LOW PRECIP WIND HUMIDITY

TONIGHT

MAY 19

Cloudy
44°
20%
ENE 16 mph 82%

SAT

MAY 20

Thunderstorms
70°56°
80%
ESE 17 mph 76%

Up Next

Round two of stroke play the NCAA Championships.