Jaclyn Lee staring down a chip shot. This indicates it probably turned out pretty well.

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

Ohio State stays in the Midwest by playing in the Windy City Challenge in Highland Park, IL. The tournament is a 36 hole event on October 2nd – 3rd. Fifteen teams will compete for the title.

The Course

The Northmoor Country Club Course (Blue & White Courses) will be set up to a length of 6,232 yards and play to par 72. From these tees, the course is rated at 70.6 with a slope of 128. For comparison, a course I play of comparable length has a rating/slope of 70.2/113. Not nearly as challenging as the University Ridge set up. 6,462 71.3/128

The Event

Two rounds (36 holes) played Monday October 2nd and 18 holes on Tuesday October 3rd.

Team Format

The team format is a “play 5, count 4”. Some teams, such as Ohio State, will have an additional golfer compete as an Individual.

The Field

The fifteen team field, with their Golfweek Top 25 Ranking, is:

Arizona, #4 Arizona State, Cal, Duke, Florida, Iowa State, #10 Michigan State, #4 Northwestern, Ohio State, #8 Oklahoma State, #20 Oregon, #25 Purdue, San Diego State, Tulane, UC-Davis.

This is a pretty tough field. You’ll see some fine golf being played.

The Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will tee it up with:

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

This is a good 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 (Sakuma). This will be fun to follow.

That’s the set-up. How’d it go?

Recap

The Buckeyes finished a long first day tied for 6th spot with a team score of 577 (+9). They opened with a morning round of 289 (+5) and finished with an afternoon round of 288 (+4). The low scorer for Ohio State in the morning round was Rio Watanabe with a 68 (-3) and in the afternoon it was Niki Schroeder (69 (-2).

For the day, Ohio Sate had solid performances by Jaclyn Lee 141 (-1) and Rio Watanabe and Niki Schroeder, each with 143 (+1). Alex Wright shot a 150 (+8) and Adeena Shears a 160 (+18) to complete the Buckeye scoring.  In Individual play, freshman Alanis Sakuma shot a 161 (+19) in her first outing as a Buckeye.

Jaclyn is in 8th place of 81 golfers and Rio and Nike are T-14th. Alex is T-51, Adeena is T-73 and Alanis is T-76.

We Have Stats

Through two rounds (36 holes) of play, Ohio State played the par 3’s to an average of 3.20 strokes, +10 to par, which ranked them T-7th. They played the par-4’s to 4.16, +14 to par, ranking them 8th. The par 5’s were played to an average of 5.08, +3, ranking them T-11th.

Interestingly, on the scoring holes, the par-3s and the par 5s, Ohio State did a ‘Jekyll & Hyde’. In the morning round, they played the par 3s quite well (+3) and in the afternoon, not well (+7). It was opposite for the par 5s; they struggled with them in the morning round (+4) and did a good bit better (-1) in the afternoon.

Ohio State had 112 pars on the day, ranking them T-6th. Their 23 birdies ranked them T-9th and their 1 eagle (Jaclyn Lee) placed them in T-2nd.

Let’s see how the players did:

Jaclyn

Jaclyn rolled in 7 birdies and an eagle on Monday – quite a day. She had 2 bogeys and, oddly enough, 3 double bogeys. For 36 holes of golf, misplaying only 3-4 shots is an impressive day of ball striking and scoring. Her rounds of 71-70 laid the keel for a good team performance.

Rio

Rio carried the day in the morning round with 5 birdies and marred by only a double bogey to finish with a 68. Her afternoon round of 75 (+4) was a bit less explosive but still counted for the team score.

Niki

Niki had a good morning round opening nine of 37 (+1) and worked through a back nine double bogey with eight pars to finish the morning at 74 (+3). Her afternoon round went a good bit better with 2 birdies and a bogey on each nine for a round of 69 (-2).

Adeena

Adeena just couldn’t get anything going all day. Her morning round of 82 (+11) was littered with bogeys with a couple double bogeys sprinkled in. Her afternoon round of 78 (+7) still had a lot of bogeys, but Adeena did register a birdie and had no score higher than bogey.  Some days are like that. Just tee it up and go get ’em the next round.

Alex

Alex struggled in her morning round with a 76 (+5) carding 6 bogeys and 1 birdie. She did a nice recovery in the afternoon round with a 74 (+3) to count for the afternoon team score.

Alanis

Alanis got her collegiate career underway in an eye-opening, for her, experience. In her first collegiate round, she had 2 birdies and 3 bogeys to make the turn at +1. So far, so good. She was +4 on her back nine for a very respectable 76 (+5) opening round. Her afternoon round of 85 (+14) did include a birdie and in fact she was only +3 after her first nine holes. Her back nine kind of went to hell (+11), but that happens every now and then.

Buckeye scores:

Windy City Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
Team 289 288 0 577
Adeena Shears 82 78 0 160
Niki Schroeder 74 69 0 143
Rio Watanabe 68 75 0 143
Alex Wright 76 74 0 150
Jaclyn Lee 71 70 0 141
Alanis Sakuma (I) 76 85 161
5 4 0 9

A Few Takeaways

This was a good opening day for Ohio State, and pretty much something we may see over the next couple of events . The returning “core” from last season of Lee, Schroeder and Watanabe provide the scoring stability. Adeena and Alex flashing good talent while working on consistency.

I do like coaches Hession and Snider approach to introduce freshmen to big time golf experience by playing them as Individuals. They are immersed in the environment without being in the cauldron of team scoring – yet.

It’s hard to draw too much of a comparison, but last year, after the first day of play at Windy City, Ohio State stood in 12th with a score of 589. This year is a different team on a different course against different competitors; but there does seem to be early season improvement.

Up Next

Tuesday’s final round match begins 8:30 am ET on Tuesday. The Buckeyes, paired with Arizona and Northwestern, are the initial groups off the tee box.

Go Buckeyes!