Sept. 28, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 21-ranked Ohio State women's golf team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Wolverine Invitational. The Buckeyes opened the season with a third-place finish at the Lady Northern Invitational, Sept. 16-17.
The 54-hole Wolverine Invitational will be played over two days. The tournament begins with two rounds Saturday. The final round will be contested Sunday Oct. 1.
A Look at The Field
The Wolverine Invitational will be a mix of familiar and unfamiliar for the Ohio State women's golf team. The Buckeyes faced four of the nine teams competing in the Wolverine Invitational less than two weeks ago during play at the Lady Northern Invitational. Ohio State finished third at the Lady Northern, falling to both Michigan State and Northwestern. This weekend the Buckeyes will have the opportunity to compete with these teams, as well as other Big Ten and national squads, in different surroundings.
Getting Better With Age
Ohio State begins fall play with an experienced roster. The 2006-07 Buckeyes returns six letterwinners, including members of the team that placed second in the Big Ten last year.
Dana Je, the sole senior , competed in all 30 rounds last season and finished with the lowest scoring average on the team. Je received 2005-06 All-Big Ten honors and is expected to play a major role for the Buckeyes this season.
Coach Therese Hession said Je's leadership will shine on and off the course in her final season.
Carling Coffing also competed in all 30 rounds for the Buckeyes last season and was recognized with second team All-Big Ten honors in 2006. Coffing is expected to build on her improvement from last year and bring her game to the next level. Hession is confident Coffing will step up this season.
Gemma Webster recorded 22 rounds of play for the Buckeyes last year and has already improved many facets of her game this season, Hession said. Webster has high expectations for herself and is expected to be a major contributor to the Buckeyes success in 2006-07.
Jennifer Cassidy competed in eight rounds during her freshman season with the Buckeyes. Cassidy opened the year with a successful Lady Northern tournament, and Hession said she has great potential for the year and a solid all-around game.
Jessica Hauser is expected to crack the line-up for the Buckeyes this year, coming off a great summer. Cassidy enters the 2006-07 season a much more experienced player and is expected to continue improving. Hession sees Cassidy as a strong competitive player who has a lot to offer the Buckeyes.
Adding to the already talented veteran squad are three newcomers, freshman Gina Besozzi and Emma Jandel, and junior transfer Haley Brown. Each will contribute to different facets of the team's success this season.
Gina Besozzi comes to the Buckeyes with the least tournament experience. Hession said she will be a great team person this year because she works hard and loves to play the game.
Haley Brown came to Ohio State from Portland State where she was the No. 1 player last season. Brown's play at Portland State gives her the most experience of the newcomers. She is steady, which Hession said will shrine through in her game and allow her to contribute to the Buckeyes squad this year.
Emma Jandel is the most experienced, having played a national schedule this summer. Jandel is competitive and works hard, two characteristics Hession said will help her improve this season, as well as crack the line-up for the Buckeyes.
In the Golfweek Rankings
The Ohio State women's golf team began this year with a preseason ranking of No. 18, five spots up from its preseason ranking of No. 23 last year. The Buckeyes' third-place finish at the Lady Northern Invitational, a difficult course and site of the 2007 Big Ten Championships, gained them some early recognition. The Buckeyes head to the Wolverine Invitational No. 23 in the Sept. 24 poll.
A Difficult Advantage
The renovation of The Ohio State University Golf Club Scarlet Course was completed last year and made the course one of the best in the nation; it may also be one of the most difficult.
Although the Scarlet Course was completed in time for Ohio State to host the NCAA tournament last year, the Buckeyes are playing on it for the first time this season. Hession said it may be one of the most difficult courses the team plays on all year and it will be an advantage to her players to have such a challenging home course.
"A lot of times you don't realize how difficult Scarlet is until you go to another place and play," Hession said. "We've got a place to play that's as tough as we are going to see all year. I think having Scarlet as our home course will be a tremendous advantage and will really improve our players' short game."
The Scarlet course has already proven its ability to give the Buckeyes an advantage over the competition. However, the team will not only see the benefits of its home course when traveling to tournaments, it also will have a leg-up on the competition when nine of 10 Big Ten teams travel to Ohio State to compete in the Lady Buckeye tournament this April. Hession is excited for her team to finally see tournament play on its home course and said other teams in the Big Ten are anxious to play in Columbus as well.
"I have had coaches from other teams approach me and tell me how excited they are to play at Scarlet this spring."
The women's golf team has been able to reap the benefits of Scarlet's renovation early in this season. Hopefully, playing on Scarlet will continue to be an advantage for both throughout this season and when Ohio State returns home for The Lady Buckeye Invitational.
Dana Je finished last season with the lowest scoring average on the team.