Ohio started the season with a par start as it split four matches at the 2018 Mid-American Match Play Challenge hosted by Bowling Green at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club in Bradenton, Florida, Feb. 5-6.

Three of the top four golfers in number of pars shot over the two days were from Ohio. Nicole Smiley led the event with 48 pars with Marissa Balish with 47, along with Lily Pendy in fourth with 44.

Smiley was the best Bobcat during stroke play in the fall with the lowest average per round. She started off the spring season strong with victories in three of her four matches.

Birdies were a common occurrence for Emily Hughes throughout the two days. She tied for second with nine. Par-5 holes were where a number of those birdies were. Additionally, she had the fourth-best score on par-5 holes over the two days at four strokes under par. 

Match play began with Ohio toppling Dayton 3-1-1. Balish, Pendy and Smiley won their matches. Hughes was the only one to pick up a win in the 4-1-0 loss to No. 2 seed Florida Gulf Coast.

Tuesday began the same way as Monday. Ohio won its opening match against UNC-Asheville 2-1-2 as Ashley Flynn and Smiley won their matches. Pendy and Hughes both ended even. 

The 15th hole was the final one of the day for three Ohio golfers against No. 4 seed Akron as they each lost 4 and 3 along with the team dropping the match 3-1-1.

Ohio will head to Rio Verde, Arizona, where the Bobcats will play in the Rio Verde Collegiate Invitational on Feb. 23-25.



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