Courtesy of Ohio State athletic department
Despite losing one of its top players to graduation last fall, the Ohio State women’s golf team will rely on plenty of experience heading into the spring season.
The seven-player team, consisting of two seniors, a junior, three sophomores and a freshman, will look to build on a solid fall season that included a tie for second place at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational and a sixth place finish at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic. Coach Therese Hession said the experiences of the fall, as well as those of past seasons, will make a big difference for the spring season.
“If they were all young and (had) never been through a Big Ten experience in regionals, I would probably be a little more concerned right now, but these players have all been to regionals every year that they’ve been here,” Hession said. “So they know what’s going on and they know what we need to do to get it done.”
The women’s golf team will be without Rachel Rohanna, one of its top players from 2012 who had two top-20 finishes in the fall, including a 2nd place finish at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in September. Rohanna graduated Fall Semester 2012.
“(Rachel’s) a really good player and we count her score almost all the time, but it just gives the other players an opportunity to step up,” Hession said. “They’re capable of stepping up and it’s just a matter of them rising to the occasion.”
Along with experience, team unity will be another pro for OSU. Senior golfer Amy Meier said having teammates provide help in a primarily individual sport is beneficial.
“Because it is an individual sport, we all have to focus on our own games, but it’s nice to have four other teammates that are there to cheer you on and pick you up and we just kind of rally around each other,” Meier said.
OSU practiced indoors at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex during its three months without competition. However, the team was able to take advantage of the warm weather last week, not only in Ohio but also at the Alumni Match in Naples, Fla., on Feb. 3.
“It was great,” said sophomore Claudia Lim. “It was so warm and just being able to play on grass again was good, so I think that’s going to help us so we get a bit of a feel to be back on grass for next week.”
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Senior golfer Susana Benavides agreed, adding that the warm weather helped ease the transition back to playing outside.
“It’s really hard to take everything from practice indoors to outdoors, but I feel like the transition doing that was OK now because we had all last week to practice here (in Ohio), too,” Benavides said. “I think we’re ready to go.”
The team’s mindset is changing as well heading into its spring season.
“Because we’re practicing basically for two months without competition, you’re focusing more on mechanics,” Meier said. “We’re finding that our mindsets have to change in the couple weeks leading into competition so we can get more in that playing mindset as opposed to practicing mindset.”
OSU will begin its season hosting the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif., on Monday. The three-day tournament consists of 16 teams, 10 of which are ranked top 25.
Hession said the tournament is “probably the deepest field it’s ever had” in its 18-year history, so “even a top-10 finish out there would be fantastic.”
“Our tournament in California has really grown and it has an outstanding field, so that makes it even more difficult starting out with some really good teams,” Hession said.
Meier and Benavides will lead OSU. Between the two of them, they compiled three top-20 finishes in the four fall events.
“We’re just really excited to get the ball rolling and see where this spring’s going to lead,” Meier said.