Hardened by regular season conditions, Flashes feel ready for MAC Championships


Then a sophomore, Kent State’s Gisli Sveinbergsson tees off on the 16th hole at the Mid-American Conference championship in Nashport, OH. The Flashes won the conference, while Sveinbergsson won golfer of the year. [FILE]

Amanda Levine

Heading into the season, the Kent State men’s golf team was ranked No. 28. After some ups — finishing second in the Aggie Invitational, one stroke behind No. 1 Oklahoma State — and downs — finishing fifth this past weekend — the Flashes are climbing the college golf rankings.

The Flashes finished out their regular season this past weekend at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate hosted by Ohio State. The team finished in fifth place, falling behind universities like Penn State and Purdue.

Now, as the Flashes enter the Mid-American Conference Championships, they feel the season has prepared them for anything.

With the weather against them this season, the Flashes have still been successful. Assistant coach Jon Mills said although the weather has been tough, it still affects the other players and universities as well.

“We basically had cold and rain (this season), and this plays right into us, but it also plays into everyone else,” Mills said. “So I think the guys will be obviously ready for anything; definitely don’t worry about that.”

The Flashes didn’t change anything when preparing for this tournament. The team goes into the conference championships with the same mindset as any other.

“Nothing changes for us,” Mills said. “(We) prepare the same way we head into every event. That’s all you can really do. There’s no point. You don’t want to go into an event making it seem like it’s something greater than what the other events are or how you prepare for any other events. They don’t need any added pressure with that kind of stuff.”

The Flashes will send out seniors Ian Holt and Chase Johnson, juniors Bjarki Petursson and Gisli Sveinbergsson and freshman Josh Gilkison. Mills said Holt’s confidence has grown since he received his PGA Canada tour card.

“He’s really just feeling great about his game, and it’s fun to watch it,” Mills said. “It gets to the point where you just let them go playing. You almost sometimes have to step back and just let them do whatever he’s got to do.”

Although Johnson has struggled this season, Mills is confident the senior will finish his career strong. During the offseason, Johnson worked on changing the technique in his swing, which Mills said is difficult to do.

“He works harder than anyone, and we’re not worried about it,” Mills said. “Some things needed to be refined, and it’s tough to do that when you have no time in between events, and you can’t really change things in a few days and expect good results. But the biggest thing is just for now, we just encourage them and, just however you can, try to go with it.”

The MAC Championships start April 27 and go on for three days. The tournament will be played at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Amanda Levine is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected].