Kent State among nation’s best with second-place finish at Aggie Invitational

Amanda Levine

In its previous two tournaments before the Aggie Invitational, the Kent State men’s golf team finished lower than Texas A&M, the No. 2 team in the country.

After having not played on a course for over a week, the Flashes finished in second place in the Aggie Invitational. The Flashes beat all but one university that was ranked in the top 20. The No. 1-ranked Oklahoma State finished in first place.

“Saturday morning, we were dead last,” Kent State coach Herb Page said. “We were 15, 16-over par and I thought, “Oh my goodness, what a long weekend it’s going to be.’ Saturday afternoon was probably one of the best college rounds I’ve seen us play. We shot 2-under par, but it was just with the conditions. We just lapped everybody and got right in contention.”

During the second round of the tournament, play was suspended due to weather conditions.  The last two holes for a couple of teams had to be played early the next morning because of the wind.

Page said he was impressed with how his players handled the mental aspect of playing in tough conditions.

“It becomes mind over matter, and our guys played exceptional,” Page said. “It was just the way they turned it around through seven or eight holes.”

The Flashes had two players finish in the top 10: senior Ian Holt and junior Bjarki Petursson. Holt tied for third place with 12 birdies and one eagle throughout the two-day event. Petursson tied for ninth and shot a 1-under 71 in the final round.

“(Holt) is just on a roll right now,” Page said. “I mean, we use rankings and everything like that. … He’s ranked 35th. That’s really, really good. He’ll move up with another tremendous week.”

After a strong last round, senior Chase Johnson moved up nine spots to tie for 28th. He had three birdies on the last day with a total of seven birdies in the tournament.

Freshman Josh Gilkison tied for 12th with nine birdies and junior Gisli Sveinbergsson tied for 52nd with seven birdies overall.

“I think it says a lot about the character, the resilience, the no excuses and the attitude that we have,” Page said. “I say this, and I don’t want to sound the wrong way, but we’re not here to beat up on the local teams and play a soft schedule. We’re here to play the best in the country.”

The Flashes will kick off their next tournament on April 14 and 15 at the Boilermaker Invitational at the Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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