Rio Watanabe revving up the fist-pump. This indicates the putt probably turned out well.

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

Ohio State is in Chapel Hill, NC to play in the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational. The tournament is a 54 hole event played over October 13th – 15th. Eighteen teams will compete for the title.

The Course

The UNC Finley Golf Course will be set up to a length of 6,379 yards and play to par 72.

The Event

Eighteen holes will be played Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tee times on Friday and Saturday will be sequential, Sunday will be shotgun start.

Team Format

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

The Field

The eighteen team field, with their Golfweek Top 25 Ranking:

#1 Arkansas, #2 Alabama,  #6 Duke, #9 Michigan State, #14 South Carolina, #16 Vanderbilt, #24 Virginia, Iowa, Louisville, Michigan, N.C. State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rollins, Tulane, UNCW, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

The Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will tee it up with:

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

That’s the set-up. How’d it go?

Recap

The Buckeyes finished strong but stumbled a bit closing out the round to finish the first round with a team score of 292 (+4). They were in great shape through 16 holes, but late bogeys and double bogeys added 6 strokes to their score. Fortunately, they are still only 4 strokes out of 5th place (Arkansas/Louisville) and 4 strokes in front of 10th place Rollins.

Ohio State was led by Jaclyn Lee and Alex Wright with each shooting 71 (-1). Rio Watanabe came in at even par 72 and Sofia Seldemirova rounded out team scoring with a 76 (+4). Nike Schroeder shot a 78 (+6).

Jaclyn and Alex are tied for 13th position of 96 golfers. Rio is T-41st, Sofia T-64th and Niki T-75th.

We Have Stats

Ohio State played the par 3’s to an average of 2.95 strokes, -1 to par, which ranked them T-3rd. They played the par-4’s to 4.22, +11 to par, ranking them T-9th. The par 5’s were played to an average of 5.00, even par, ranking them 11th.

This was a very good showing on the short holes, not bad for the mid-length holes and it could have gone better on the long holes.

Ohio State had 60 pars on the day, ranking them T-4th. Their 12 birdies ranked them T-8th.

Let’s see how the players did:

Jaclyn

Jaclyn started well with a birdie on her 2nd hole and made the turn at 36 (E). A good nine and the back nine was better. Through seven holes, Jaclyn’s two birdies had her at -2 for the side and for the round until she bogeyed the 18th hole. Still, a very solid round with nothing higher than bogey and only two of those.

Rio

Rio did her “Rio Thing” of streak play in Friday’s round. After opening with a bogey, she strung together 3 birdies followed by 3 pars, followed by 3 bogeys. This had her at +1 through 12 holes. She followed this with a birdie (to get to even par) then four consecutive pars. Things did go sideways a bit with a double bogey on the 18th hole. Aside from the last hole, Rio put together 17 good holes for her team.

Niki

Niki had a tough start, double bogeying her opening hole. She did stabilize a bit with seven consecutive pars before a bogey on the 9th got her to the turn at +3. Through seven holes on the back, Niki was +1 for the nine, but a double bogey on the par-5 17th hole took her out of any team play scoring. Rounds like that happen – just tee it up again tomorrow and don’t worry about it.

Sofia

Sofia actually had 17 pretty decent holes on Friday’s opening round. She had 2 bogeys among 7 pars on her front nine to make the turn at 38 (+2). Her back nine got off to a slow start with bogeys on #10 and #11, but she birdied #12 and #13! Sofia parred  4 of her final 5 holes although a double bogey on the 17th did sidetrack things a bit.

Alex

Alex had her round pretty much under total control all morning. She began with 6 consecutive pars, then birdied 2 of next 3 holes to make the turn at 34 (-2). Alex’s back nine began with 8 consecutive pars and ended with a bogey on the 18th. Fifteen pars, 2 birdies and 1 lone bogey. Impressive, Alex, impressive.

Buckeye scores:

Tar Heel Invit Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
Team 292 0 0 292
Jaclyn Lee 71 0 0 71
Niki Schroeder 78 0 0 78
Rio Watanabe 74 0 0 74
Alex Wright 71 0 0 71
Sofia Seldemirova 76 0 0 76


A Few Takeaways

It was actually a really good opening round. Despite a handful of over-par holes coming down the stretch, things didn’t end too badly for Ohio State. Right now, the Buckeyes are only 4 strokes out of 5th place and 9 strokes out of the lead. If each golfer can pick up one or two strokes tomorrow and on Sunday, who knows?

The Buckeyes have played well and their team is in good position. This could be a good tournament.

Up Next

Ohio State tees off from hole #1 at 9:09 am ET. They are paired with Wake Forest and host North Carolina. This will be a good group to follow.

Go Buckeyes!