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Buckeyes eager to host tournament

Coming off its best performance of the season, the Ohio State men’s golf team is looking to defend its home turf at the Robert Kepler Invitational this weekend.

The Buckeyes finished second out of 13 teams at the Irish Creek Collegiate Classic last weekend in Kannapolis, N.C. Brad Smith, a junior from Peru, Ind., and his teammates know the importance of playing well on their home course.

“Well obviously it’s a goal of ours to defend our home course and win our home tournament,” Smith said. “We haven’t really had the results this season that we had hoped for, but last week we finished second in a tournament and everyone played well. We’re just looking to continue that into this weekend. If everyone plays their game and plays well then we’re going to continue to win.”

The Buckeyes haven’t won the Robert Kepler Invitational since 2003, and first-year coach Donnie Darr is looking to change that.

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“You learn so much about yourself and about your team when you have a chance to put it out there on the line, and it’s important for us to protect our home turf. I think the guys are primed and ready, and hopefully we’ll get some good weather,” Darr said.

Bo Hoag, a junior and Honorable Mention All-American in 2009, does not think that course knowledge is the only advantage he and his teammates will have over their opponents this weekend.

“Just being able to sleep in your own bed is nice. Whether the other team wants to admit it or not, they’re going to be a little fatigued from any kind of traveling that they’re going to do. It’s just nice to be here already and kind of know the ropes of everything,” Hoag said.

Aside from OSU, the invitational, which will be held at Scarlet Golf Course, will include Big Ten teams Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin along with neighboring Ohio teams Kent State and Xavier. Charlotte, Eastern Michigan, Houston, North Texas and Oklahoma round out the 11-team tournament.

Hoag, who is third on the team in scoring, believes that the team’s confidence is at an all-time high this season, and that it should bode well for them this weekend.

“I think right now a lot of guys are feeling good about their golf games, and I think we’re more confident than we’ve been all year,” Hoag said. 

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