(Photo courtesy OSU Athletic Department. Tournament information courtesy, LPGA, PGA and the Ohio Women’s Open.)
When we last checked in, the Ohio State contingent acquitted themselves well at the Women’s Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club in nearby (to me) Lewiston, NY. Niki Schroeder finished T-5th, Zoe-Beth Brake T-17th and Jessica Porvasnik T-22. It was good golf on a tight course in blustery conditions.
Okay, so that was last week. Anything happen since then? Yes, yes there was… We’ll begin in Canada with an LPGA event, swing down to the Dominican Republic for a PGA Latinoamérica tournament then finish in Defiance, Ohio at the Ohio Women’s Open.
Manulife LPGA Classic
We begin our golf walkabout in Cambridge, Ontario. Cambridge is approximately 93 kilometers (58 miles for the non-metric inclined) southwest of Toronto. The LPGA held its Manulife June 8 – 11 and it attracted a solid field. Some notables who teed it up were top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (the tournament winner, as it were), Lexi Thompson, Suzann Petersen, Brooke Henderson among others.
Buckeye notables were Buckeye alum Rachel Rohanna and current Buckeye, Jaclyn Lee. Unfortunately, this Buckeye contingent didn’t do as well as hoped. The cut line was 142 and neither player made the cut.
Frankly, this would not be something to lose sleep over. This is Rachel’s 2nd year on tour and she is balancing family life while working to develop and refine her game. Jaclyn had the opportunity to tee it up in a “home country” tournament and to test her game against really top flight competition.
Puerto Plata DR Open
While golf was contested in Cambridge, Ontario there was a PGA Tour Latinoamérica event at Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Ohio State alum Tee-K Kelly won his 1st career event in five starts. Tee-K went wire-to-wire to win in Puerto Plata, opening with a 1st round 61! (Are you kidding me?). His net three rounds were 67-66-69 on the par 71 course.
To familiarize yourself with the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, it is a development tour under the aegis of the PGA. In broad terms, as far as we’re concerned, there are three levels of golf. At the top is the PGA, The Show. The next level down is the developmental tour, the Web.com tour. In baseball terms, Web.com would be AAA ball. Next level down (AA ball) would be tours such as the Latinoamérica.
This is relevant, so please stay with me. With Tee-K’s win, he moves up to 7th place in that tour’s Order of Merit. If he can place in the top 5 in the Order of Merit, he gains playing status on the Web.com tour. That’s a big deal. Tee-K 10 more events to improve his standing. Best of luck, Tee-K.
Here is some narrative of Tee-K bringing it home.
Ohio Women’s Open
We wrap up our tour de force in Defiance Ohio for the 2017 Ohio Women’ Open. I wouldn’t normally mention this event, except three Buckeyes participated; Jessica Porvasnik, Katja Pogacar and Rio Watanabe. This is a two day, 36 hole stroke play event.
There are several player divisions at this event; Professional, Senior and Amateur. Jessica and Katja entered as professionals while Rio played as an amateur. Well… Jessica won her first event as a professional! Her two round total of 138 (70-68) placed her 5 strokes clear of the field. Winning your first event at a higher level is a pretty big deal; congratulations, Jessica.
Katja also played well; her two round total of 148 (72-76) placed her T-5th place. That’s also a good start to your new career. Well done, Katja.
Meanwhile, in the Amateur field, Rio’s total of 154 (75-79) placed her 5th place, only four strokes off the winning score. Nice job, Rio, nice job.
Congratulations to Jessica and Tee-K on their first professional wins. May they be the first of many. Congratulations to Katja and to Rio for solid events. well done.