Flashes leapfrog Ball State in final day to secure MAC championship


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 final day of the Mid-American Conference Championships, the Kent State men’s golf team sat in second place behind Ball State.

The Flashes moved up one spot in the final round to win the MAC Championship, helping them reserve a spot in the NCAA Regionals. The team had three players finish in the top 10: senior Ian Holt, junior Bjarki Petursson and senior Chase Johnson.

“Quite honestly, we were the heavy favorites,” Kent State coach Herb Page said. “I’m not afraid to say that. They (Ball State) were just prepared. They did a great job. We just kind of hung in there and got them at the end.”

Holt finished first in the individual rankings and finished the final day of the tournament with an even-par 72. He is currently ranked No. 22 in the country, three spots up from last week.

“He’s had a great year,” Page said. “He was just named MAC player of the year and a recent MAC medalist. He’s been runner-up at the MAC (Championships) twice in his career now. He wins it now; what a great way to go out as a senior. (He’s) been leading us all year and just another really great term.”

Petursson finished 1-under par in the final round helping him climb the rankings to finish in second.

Johnson, junior Gisli Sveinbergsson and freshman Josh Gilkison rounded out the lineup for the Flashes. Johnson had a remarkable four rounds after struggling in the past couple of tournaments. Johnson moved up a spot from the second day to tie for 10th, rounding out the tournament at  4-over par.

Sveinbergsson was the reigning champion of the tournament, but finished in a tie for 14th; he finished 5-over on the final day.

Gilkison struggled to finish strong in the tournament after moving down four spots, ending at 22nd. This was Gilkison’s first appearance at the MAC Championship. Page described the tournament as “nerve wracking” for the coaches to watch, but was proud with the end results.

“It was a tough one,” Page said. “It was real tough. They showed a lot of guts, a lot of character being behind and just coming back to the end. That’s a cool way to win; you have the coaches nervous, but it was good.”

The Flashes were the defending champions of the MAC Championship and look to continue their postseason success in the NCAA Regionals May 14 through the 16. The Flashes’ location for the NCAA Regionals will be released Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

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