Big Ten Women's Golf Championships Preview
April 23, 2008
Penn State University is set to welcome all 11 conference teams to the 2008 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships, this Friday through Sunday, April 25-27, at the Penn State Blue Course in University Park, Pa. The event will be 72 holes of competition with 36 holes Friday (April 25), 18 holes Saturday (April 26) and a final 18 holes Sunday (April 27). The Penn State Blue Course will be set up for a par of 72 and 7,228 yards.
Defending champion Michigan State will look for the repeat and its fourth overall title, but the field will be deep this year, with four conference teams ranked in the nation's top 50 by Golfweek/Sagarin. The No. 16 Spartans will have to fend No. 6 Purdue who finished second at last year's event, along with No. 40 Ohio State and No. 43 Indiana.
The Spartans will rely heavily on senior Sara Brown and sophomore Laura Kueny. Brown currently ranks 15th among collegiate golfers and second in the Big Ten. At the 2007 Championships Brown placed sixth overall to help her squad win the team title. Kueny stands as MSU's second-best golfer this year with a 73.28 average, good enough for 44th in the nation. Look for senior leadership from Jordyn Wells as she competed in last year's event, placing 39th overall.
Currently, four Boilermakers are among the seven Big Ten golfers ranked in the nation's top 100. No. 8 Maria Hernandez, who has earned four career Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors and finished fourth at the 2007 Championships, is the highest-ranked golfer in the conference. She is joined in the ratings by teammates Christina Boeljon at No. 19, freshman Maude-Aimee LeBlanc in 25th and No. 53 Junthima Gulyamamitta. These four golfers have racked up five Big Ten Golfer of the Week awards this season, with Gulyamamitta earing the honor twice.
Ohio State will be under the direction of senior Carling Coffing. Coffing owns a 74.06 average on the season which ranks her 75th in the country. She also earned a Co-Golfer of the Week honor on Feb. 20 this season.
This year's event will be the second Big Ten Women's Golf Championships Penn State has hosted. The Nittany Lion's first welcomed the event to University Park in 1998, placing fifth to event champion Indiana.
In the 26-year history of the Big Ten Women's Golf Championships, seven conference squads have captured the conference title. Ohio State leads all teams with 11 wins, followed by Indiana (7), Michigan State (3), Purdue (2) and Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin each with one title.
Last year the Big Ten created the Mary Fossum Award, named after the former Michigan State women's golf coach. The award is presented to the student-athlete with the lowest stroke average according to the Golfstat.com rankings at the Big Ten Championships.