Big Ten Women's Golf Championships Preview
April 23, 2009
Purdue University and the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex will host the 2009 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships on April 24-26. This is the first time since the 1999 season that Purdue has housed the yearly event and just the third time in championships history. The Big Ten currently touts four teams ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Top 50. No. 11 Purdue leads all schools, followed by No. 20 Michigan State, No. 25 Ohio State and No. 50 Michigan.
Purdue enters the 2009 event as the reigning Big Ten Champion with its sights set on a second consecutive title. Led by two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and last year's conference medalist Maria Hernandez, Purdue has been playing exceptional golf all season long, finishing in the top three in four of six tournaments during the spring season. Four Purdue players rank among the top 100 collegiate golfers this year, fronted by No.8 Hernandez, No. 21 Thea Hoffmeister, No. 23 Maude Aimee-LeBlanc and No. 55 Junthima Gulyamamitta. Throughout the 12-week regular season, Boilermaker student-athletes have collected a conference-high six Big Ten Golfer of the Week awards.
2008 runner-up Michigan State looks to claim the top podium spot in 2009. Top returning talent for MSU includes junior Laura Kueny and sophomore Aimee Neff. Kueny ranks as the No. 17 golfer in the nation with a 71.87 rating and finished last year's championships tied for fourth, earning first-team All-Big Ten distinction. Neff collected second-team All-Conference accolades in 2008 as she tied for seventh.
No. 25 Ohio State brings back a wealth of talent from last season as the Buckeyes hope to improve upon their third-place showing in the 2008 event. Returning to the tee box for OSU are second-team All-Big Ten members Emma Jandel and Gemma Webster and last year's tied-for-10th-place finisher In Hong Lim. Lim was awarded the final weekly laurel of the 2009 season.
No. 50 Michigan will look to veteran Ashley Bauer, the No. 99 ranked player among collegiate golfers, to better the Wolverines' fifth-place finish from the 2008 championships.
Last year's event produced the second-lowest winning team score for a 72-hole Big Ten Championships as Purdue totaled 1,169 strokes. Hernandez set a few records of her own by tallying the lowest wining individual score for 72 holes with a 281, the lowest fourth-round score with a 69, and the lowest individual-round score with a 66 in the third round.