After a summer that saw four golfers place in the top 20 at the Ohio Amateur Championships, the Ohio State golf team is set to tee off its new season.
OSU is scheduled to begin its 2014-15 season at the Northern Intercollegiate in Sugar Grove, Ill., this weekend.
The tournament is set to begin Friday before the final two rounds take place on Saturday and Sunday. The Buckeyes are one of 13 teams scheduled to play in the tournament, which includes two teams ranked in the top 10 of the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
Redshirt-senior Logan Jones aid the other schools in the field won’t be OSU’s focus heading into the weekend.
“We’re not so much worried about the other teams. Our competition, so to speak, is the golf course,” Jones said.
The Buckeyes are set to play at Rich Harvest Links, which was ranked No. 73 in Golf Digest’s 2013-14 list of America’s 100 greatest golf courses. OSU coach Donnie Darr said he thinks highly of the course as well.
“It’s a great golf course. It’s a championship golf course so you have to have control of your golf ball out here,” Darr said. “If you get wayward off the tee, it’s going to be hard to score. Typically the greens are really firm and fast.”
Senior Boo Timko has some experience at Rich Harvest Links as he played the course last year, and he said he’s expecting it to be a tough test.
“It’s a difficult course,” Timko said. “You have to play smart and play well to shoot well.”
Last season the Buckeyes placed sixth at the Big Ten championship and placed 12th at the NCAA Columbia Regional Tournament. However, Darr said he sees an improvement in his team from last season.
“Our overall depth (has improved), I mean in this last qualifier we had four shots separate our second-best player from our ninth-best player,” Darr said.
Stepping onto the course with confidence and a competitive spirit is something Jones said he wants to see from himself and his teammates in their first of the year tournament and throughout the season.
“As a whole, we all want to be more competitive and more aggressive, not playing defensive, scared or timid,” he said. “I want to make aggressive swings to smart targets, (overall) having a more bold attitude towards the season than years past.”
Although Timko said his season goal is to work toward a Big Ten championship, his coach said he is simply focused on the present and taking it one tournament at a time.
“The biggest thing for us this week is how we handle our emotions and how we handle the adversity as it comes to us,” Darr said. “Ultimately, I just want to watch these guys and see them compete for 54 holes when they’re only concerned about the shot they are hitting at the present time.”
The tournament is set to tee off Friday at 8:51 a.m.