April 23, 2014
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MADISON, Wis. – A season’s worth of hard work has led to this for the Wisconsin women’s golf team.
The Badgers officially tee off championship season this weekend as they travel to French Lick, Ind., for the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Golf Championships held Friday-Sunday, April 25-27.
Wisconsin will look to compete among the conference’s best and improve upon last year’s sixth-place finish (53-over par 305-311-301—917) when the first 18-hole round of the competition begins Friday at 8 a.m. CT. The 54-hole tournament will take place at the French Lick Resort on the par-72, 6,017-yard Pete Dye Course. This weekend will be the first time the women have battled for the Big Ten championship title on the Pete Dye Course, since the event was previously held on the Donald Ross Course.
2014 Field: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, No. 31 Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, No. 12 Northwestern, No. 25 Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, No. 48 Wisconsin
“We're excited about that change in venue of the golf course. It's just a remarkable place,” UW head coach Todd Oehrlein said.
“The golf course is a great setup,” Oehrlein added. “We need to drive the ball well. It is a strength of ours, so I'm optimistic that we will. I think that's the key to playing this golf course.”
Play resumes with round two beginning at 8 a.m. CT on Saturday, and the tournament concludes with the final 18 holes on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. CT.
Competing for Wisconsin will be redshirt junior Kimberly Dinh, senior Alyssa Elliott, freshman Brooke Ferrell, redshirt senior Alexis Nelson, senior Kris Yoo and junior Aaren Ziegler.
Five of the six players traveling, excluding Ferrell, competed for UW at the Big Ten championships last season. Two Badgers tallied top-20 finishes, with Nelson tying for 12th with 9-over par 225 and Yoo finishing tied for 16th with 10-over par 226.
Wisconsin has been led by three different players (Dinh, Ferrell, Nelson) that have placed first for the Badgers at least two times this year, and Oehrlein is looking to continue the team’s consistent scoring this weekend.
“Our best golf this year has been when we're balanced,” Oehrlein said. “That's really kind of the key to our program and the key to our team, is just pretty decent depth.
“And when we have all five players -- or six in this particular case, we’re taking six to the Big Tens -- but when the whole team is balanced and playing just solid golf, we're a pretty good golf team.”
UW heads into the event with an 18-hole season average of 297.73 (7,741 strokes/26 rounds). The Badgers are on-pace to break the school’s 18-hole average record of 302.93 (9,694/32) set in 2009-10.
"It doesn't really fall on one player's shoulders," Oehrlein said. "That type of balance and that type of depth is something we worked really hard to develop through our program, and it proves to be a strength of ours typically."
Wisconsin will compete against the 12-team field, which features some of the nation’s top-ranked teams on the national Golfweek/Sagarin rankings including 12th-ranked Northwestern and 25th-ranked Ohio State.
“You probably have six teams that, if things go well, they could play at a level that's good enough to win this championship,” Oehrlein said.
“I think we're one of those teams,” Oehrlein continued. “I feel like we have that opportunity to play that well. But you have to perform. You have to play well at the right time. You have to make some putts and you have to be solid in your approach. This golf course is going to really test your mental game.”
The Badgers’ consistency and balance will be key this weekend at the conference meet, which will determine the automatic qualifier for the NCAA regionals May 8-10.
“Our league is very deep, it's very well-respected and so it makes for a great championship this week," Oehrlein said. "That's what we're looking forward to.”
Results and live scoring from the Big Ten championships can be found on Golfstat.com, as well as UWBadgers.com.