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Badgers close to home for Big Ten Championship in Madison

first_imgThe Badger women’s golf team hopes to reap some home-field advantage this weekend at the Big Ten Championship after falling a bit short in its past two tournaments at Ohio St. and Mississippi.The Big Ten Championship will be tightly contested as four teams currently sit in the top 36 of the latest national rankings, while an additional nine golfers appear in the top 100 of the individual ranks. Purdue is most likely considered the favorite, as it is the two-time defending conference champion, with Michigan St. not far behind, having finished in second the past two seasons. Ohio St. and Northwestern are the other highly-ranked teams entering the weekend, and the Badgers are looking forward to performing on the big stage.“We were disappointed that we didn’t finish a few spots higher than what we did [at Ohio St.],” head coach Todd Oehrlein said. “But we did a lot of good things on the golf course. We weren’t real far off.”Wisconsin was most recently in action at the Scarlet Course at Ohio St. last weekend, where it took eighth place in a 12-team field that included eight other Big Ten teams. The Badgers were led by senior Molly Schemm, whose score of 237 was good enough to give her a share of 15th place overall.With the men’s team having just played at Ohio St. the weekend prior, junior Carly Werwie echoed the sentiment felt by many of the men’s players after their round.“It was really tough conditions out there,” she said. “Easily the toughest conditions I’ve ever played in with the wind, and Ohio St. being a tough golf course to start with.”Oehrlein complimented the team on its focus and concentration leading up to and during the tournament, but noted it was a matter of missed opportunities that plagued the Badgers, and that they “let a few too many shots hang out there,” because it’s a course where there are so few quality opportunities presented.Looking ahead to this weekend, the Badgers will play host to the biggest tournament of their season, as the Big Ten Championship comes to the UW’s University Ridge Golf Course. It will be the first time since 2000 the annual championship has been contested in Madison.“The golf course is in great shape,” Oehrlein said. “It will be a fair test, and the scoring should be good, but a lot depends on the weather conditions.”The Badgers will definitely be looking to capitalize on the home field advantage. Oehrlein mentioned the practices this week will be crucial in the attempt to take full advantage of the fortuitous situation, as they will be able to anticipate where the difficult shots will come. They will also be able to get a few extra chances to practice some of the trickier shots they could face during the actual tournament.He also anticipated there being a bit of nervousness when they begin, though, and said that they’ll need to settle in quickly, because that’s when they’ll take advantage of the benefits.“I hope it turns out to be a big advantage,” Oehrlein said.Oehrlein and Werwie agree one of the keys to the weekend, and what has been a challenge for UW all season, is its consistency. Outside of getting to practice the course beforehand, they plan to treat it as they would any other tournament. Werwie also said that the consistency among the team’s lineup has made it easier to get into a rhythm during the season, and that they need to “just have fun and stay relaxed.”“We’re so close to playing really well and clicking on all cylinders,” Werwie said. “We’ve had a lot of fun this year, which makes it easier to play at tournaments.”Home field advantage aside, the Badgers still need to come with their “A” game to keep up with the rest of the competitive Big Ten field this weekend.“The Big Ten has improved dramatically this year,” Oehrlein said. “I can confidently say that this is the deepest year I have ever seen the conference since I’ve been here at Madison; it’s not even a question.”last_img read more