OSU freshman golfer Caden Orwiler is one underclassman leading Buckeyes in competition. Credit: Courtesy of OSU Athletics

With seven members of the Ohio State men’s golf team having freshman or sophomore eligibility, underclassmen had to step into key roles early in their college careers.

Freshman Caden Orewiler said the younger group embraces the challenge.

“We honestly view our youth as a positive thing,” he said. “Since we’re all young, we get a lot of time to mature and keep forming friendships and bonds with our teammates. I think the biggest part of team play is forming strong relationships with your teammates.”

Freshman Jeg Coughlin III echoed Orewiler’s sentiment, saying it’s a mentality that motivates the ‘Young Bucks.’

“We call ourselves the ‘Young Bucks,’” Coughlin said. “Being able to drive a program like this really pushes us. We’ve been extremely driven by the fact that we are the young guys in this deal, and it’s pretty cool to drive all of it through the youth movement.”

Driving a program of OSU’s caliber is anything but a cakewalk, though. Given how individualized of a sport golf is, the transition from the junior level to college can often be a difficult one.

“The biggest hurdle is learning that team environment,” Coughlin said. “Take practice, for example. When you’re practicing as a team, even if you don’t agree with something that you’re working on, you have to be all in on it because if it benefits just one or two guys, it’s worth it.”

Pressure can also make it tough at times to adjust to college-level golf — a difficulty that Orewiler said isn’t easy to overcome.

“There’s not a lot of changes in my play, but I do feel a little more pressure because I’m playing on a bigger stage,” he said. “Your position on the team isn’t ever really locked up like it normally would be in high school, either. So, when you walk out on the course, you just feel more pressure.”

Even though there are no captains in golf, OSU coach Jay Moseley put together a leadership council prior to the start of the season — an honor given to sophomore Will Grimmer.

“We have a leadership council that coach Moseley has put in place here,” Grimmer said. “It consists of redshirt senior Max Rosenthal, redshirt junior Josh Wick and myself. We didn’t have anything like that last year, so with that system in place, it’s really helped our young team.”

Grimmer spearheads the men’s golf program and has emerged as a cornerstone for the Scarlet and Gray. While the youth movement might be in full effect at OSU, Grimmer understands that the ultimate goal of winning a conference championship title remains the same.

“We spent so much time last year talking about winning the Big Ten, that I think we kind of assumed we’d win it,” Grimmer said. “OSU has won more conference championships than any other Big Ten school, we haven’t won a Big Ten Championship in about 13 years, so we’re ready to change that.”

With three events left on their schedule, the Buckeyes will attempt to end the regular season strong before the Big Ten Championships begin in April.