Flashes prepare for nation’s best at Aggie Invitational

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

The Kent State men’s golf team was ranked No. 28 in the country to start the season.

Now, after a couple of ups and downs, the Flashes are ranked No. 31, three spots up from last week’s rankings.

After finishing third in their first tournament of the year, the Flashes struggled to keep the same momentum. In the General Hackler Championship on March 10-11, the team finished in sixth place after moving up four spots in the tournament’s final day.

In their last tournament, the Hootie at Bulls Bay, senior Ian Holt placed third, with the Flashes finishing in second as a team. The team finished 2-under par, losing by one stroke to Ole Miss, and had three players finish in the top 10.

After his strong performance, Holt was named Mid-American Conference golfer of the week. Coach Herb Page said the team had “three straight good rounds” despite windy conditions.

“(Holt) is finishing up a good career,” Page said. “He’s had a consistent spring and was just invited to play in the PGA Canada tour.”

Despite their dominant performance last week, Page raised some concerns about their upcoming tournament. The Flashes will be competing in the Aggie Invitational, hosted by Texas A&M at Traditions Golf Course in Bryan, Texas, against one of the strongest fields in the nation.

“(I have) a little bit of concern for this week,” Page said. “We haven’t played on a course since the (Hootie at Bulls Bay) tournament in South Carolina.”

Because of the weather conditions in Kent, the Flashes haven’t had a chance to play golf outside and have instead been focusing their time on drills.

“Winter is when you tune up your techniques,” Page said. “We’re not worried about mechanics, only drills.”

Texas A&M is ranked No. 2 in the country. The Flashes have finished behind the Aggies in two tournaments this season and see them as a strong competitor.

“I’m excited,” Page said. “It’s a great tournament. Playing against schools in the top 10, … we’re at the right party.”

The tournament field will consist of 14 universities, six of which are in the top 12 in the country: No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 Texas Tech, No. 7 Baylor, No. 8 Alabama and No. 12 LSU.

The individual field includes 16 golfers ranked in the top 50 in the nation, including No. 35-ranked Holt.

The Aggie Invitational will be a two-day event starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.

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