(Photo and tournament information courtesy of Ohio State Athletics Department. Tournament scoring and statistics courtesy Golfstat.)
The Quest continues. Ohio State advanced through the 54 hole stroke play qualifying portion of the NCAA’s. Now, they are in the championship match play field. The 4th seed Buckeyes will play the 5th seed Southern Cal Trojans Tuesday morning. The winner advances to this afternoon’s semi-finals. This is a full day of consequential golf.
As a side note, match play is my favorite form of competitive golf; it’s you and your opponent, face to face, mano a mano. What the other players in the field are doing at the moment is irrelevant. Your task is very plain and in front of you.
With that said, here are the pairings for the morning round:
QUARTERFINAL PAIRINGS & TEE TIMES (Golfweek rankings)
Niki Schroeder (209) vs. Victoria Morgan (42), 8:50 a.m. ET
Jessica Porvasnik (99) vs. Muni He (35), 9 a.m.ET
Jaclyn Lee (86) vs. Gabriella Then (104), 9:10 a.m.ET
Rio Watanabe (150) vs. Robynn Ree (16), 9:20 a.m.ET
Katja Pogacar (89) vs. Tiffany Chan (91), 9:30 a.m.
So, now that we have the dramatis personae in this 5 act performance; how’d it go?
Just by looking at the Golfstat rankings, first gloss would give the match to USC 3-2, based upon their rankings of the players facing off against one another. However, matches need to be played, because life intervenes. Well, Ohio State lost their quarterfinals match 3-1-1 to Southern Cal.
This was a tough match and I think everyone involved knew it would be, especially in a match that involved the #4 and #5 seeds. There were two matches decided by only one hole (both in USC’s favor) and a halved match. This was a closely contested match.
Niki vs Victoria
Niki lost a tough match 4&3. Through 11 holes Niki was only 1-down. However, a par-birdie-par stretch (holes #3 – #5) moved Victoria to 4-up through 14. Being down dormie 4 is a tough position for Nike. Matching pars on hole #15 ended the match. Ohio State trailed the match 0-1.
Jessica vs Muni
Jessica rolled her opponent 5&4. Jessica had 3 birdies in her opening nine holes and was 4 up at this point. Jess was dormie 5 then matching pars on the 14th hole won the match for the Buckeyes. It now stood at 1-1.
Jaclyn vs Gabriella
Jaclyn’s match was a “bad news/good news” situation. She was 1 up through 16 holes. The 17th hole was lot and the 18th halved to halve the match. Still, it’s a 1/2 point for the Buckeyes, so nothing wrong with that. The match now stands at 1.5 – 1.5.
Rio vs Robynn
Rio lost a tough match, 1-up. She was 3 down through 10 holes (not a good situation), then chipped away to get back into the match. Through the 16th hole, she pulled to within 1 down, but Rio could not get the halve due to matching pars on the last two holes. The match stands at 1.5 – 2.5, USC.
Katja vs Tiffany
Katja needed to win her match to square the team match. However, she was 1 down through 17. The match ended with Katja on the short end of a 1 down match. Katja played her round in 73 (+1). She could have not done much better.
- If you want to watch a multi-dimensional chess match, watch the match pairings announcement (courtesy OSU women’s golf Facebook). I think this is similar to Ryder Cup; a coach can bluff, thrust and parry on the pairings; beyond that, it’s up to the players.
- In some sense, this was a ‘David -Goliath’ (without the intimidation) match. Southern Cal was the #6 ranked team and the average Golfstat ranking of their players was #57. Ohio State was ranked #25 with a player average ranking of #126. Ohio State, coaches and players, got every stroke they could out of this week.
- Although I’m a bit deflated, I am proud of what this team accomplished. They took the team match down to the last stroke in several individual matches.
- On the plus side, three Buckeyes (Rio, Jaclyn, Niki) should return next season to form a nucleus of a talented, and I assume, hungry team.
- At the risk of being off-color – goddammit, I wanted that win.