I love this team photo.

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

Ohio State begins its 2017-2018 season in Madison, WI this weekend at the East & West Match Play Challenge. Eight teams will compete in grueling 36 hole stroke play on Sunday to determine seeding for the ensuing two day match play portion.

The Event

The East & West Match Play Challenge. This is 36 holes (two rounds) of stroke play on Sunday followed by match play on Monday and Tuesday.

The Course

The University Ridge Golf Course will be set up to a length of 6,297 yards and play to par 72. From these tees, the course is rated at 70.3 with a slope of 132. For comparison, a course I play of comparable length has a rating/slope of 69.3/119. Not nearly as challenging as the University Ridge set up.

Team Format

The team format is a “play 5, count 4”.

The Field

The eight team field is:

Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, UC Davis, Wisconsin (host school)

The Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will tee it up with:

1. Jaclyn Lee | Jr.
2. Rio Watanabe | Sr.
3. Niki Schroeder | Jr.
4. Adeena Shears | So.
4. Alex Wright | So.
Ind. Sofia Seldemirova | Fr.

This is an intriguing lineup for the Buckeyes.  There is substantial experience and proven scoring capability (Lee, Watanabe and Schroeder), potentially very good play in unproven golfers (Shears, Wright) and a freshman making her collegiate debut (Seldemirova). his will be fun to follow.

That’s the set-up. How’d it go?

Recap

Jaclyn Lee’s co-medalist day of (-7) led Ohio State to a second round resurgence and a 3rd place finish in the stroke qualifying rounds. Their 1st round play was… lackluster, a team total of 300 (+12) that had them in 7th place.  The team got its tempo back in the afternoon round with a score of 284 (-4), the best second round by 6 strokes. Jaclyn’s 67 was low score and Alex Wright’s 69 was T-4th lowest score in the afternoon round.

The Buckeyes were led by Jaclyn Lee 137 (-7). Providing close support were Alex Wright 146 (+2) and Niki Schroeder 148 (+4). Adeena Shears 153 (+9) rounded out team scoring while Rio Watanabe finished with a 155 (+11). In Individual play, freshman Sofia Seldemirova shot a 157 (+13) in her first outing as a Buckeye.

Ohio State will face Iowa State in Tuesday’s first round of match play.

We Have Stats

Through the stroke play portion, Ohio State played the par 3’s to an average of 3.14 strokes, +7 to par, which ranked them 4th in that category. They played the par-4’s to 4.10, +8 to par, ranking them T-1st. The par 5’s were played to an average of 5.08, +4, ranking them T-7th.

Ohio State had 116 pars on the day, ranking them 6th, but not far off the mark of 120 (Michigan, UC Davis). Their 25 birdies ranked them T-3rd.

Let’s see how the players did:

Jaclyn

Jaclyn was in a different zone Sunday than most people. Her opening round of 70 (-2) was well played, but her afternoon round of 67 (-5) was surreal. Jaclyn’s 12 birdies on the day were half of Ohio State’s total. Simply amazing.

Rio

Let’s just say that Rio had an interesting day. Her opening round 79 (+7) “featured” a quadruple bogey along with 3 bogeys. Her afternoon round 76 (+4) had her with four bogeys. Rio had 28 pars in 36 holes, so she actually did play that badly. She just had one horrible hole (it happens, don’t worry about it) and no birdies in two rounds, which is pretty unusual for Rio.

Niki

Niki gad a brutal start to her morning round going +5 in an early three hole stretch. She stabilized her round a bit with 3 birdies in holes #1- #18 to end her morning round with a respectable 75 (+3). Niki smoothed her afternoon round with a 2 birdie – 3 bogey round of 73 (+1).

On a side note, in this year’s Women’s Porter Cup, I trailed Niki for three holes and she birdied two of them. There is no question she can put red figures on a scorecard.

Adeena

Adeena, like most of the Buckeyes struggles in the morning round with  78 (+6). Her score counted for the morning team score, but barely. Although she did not score a birdie in the afternoon round, Adeena came in with 15 pars (par is your friend) for a nice round of 75 (+3).

Alex

Alex struggled in her morning round with a 77 (+5). She did have 2 birdies, but 7 bogeys just flattened out her round. Things did not stay flattened since Alex came back with 5 birdies in the afternoon round for a 69 (-3) score. Her 69 was the 4th lowest score of the afternoon round.

Sofia

Sofia had a solid start to her collegiate career with a 1st round 75 (+3), which featured 2 birdies. Things got a bit sidetracked in the afternoon round, however as the birdies were replaced by double bogeys enroute to an 82 (+10). Still, I think it was an encouraging start for Sofia.

Buckeye scores:

East & West Match Play Rd 1 Rd 2 Total To Par
Team 300 284 584 8
Jaclyn Lee 70 67 137 -7
Rio Watanabe 79 76 155 11
Niki Schroeder 75 73 148 4
Adeena Shears 78 75 153 9
Alex Wright 77 69 146 2
Sofia Seldemirova 75 82 157 13
12 -4 8

A Few Takeaways

This was a very good opening day for Ohio State. Two players, Lee and Wright, dipped into the 60’s. Two others, Schroeder and Shears, improved their scoring from the morning to the afternoon rounds. Although, on the surface, Rio’s scores weren’t good, she did card par on 78% of her holes, which should serve her well in match play. Seldemirova had a very respectable inaugural day of collegiate golf.

Up Next

Monday and Tuesday match play portions of this event. I’ll have the recaps sometime Monday through Wednesday. Please stop by.

Go Buckeyes!