Men’s golf wins Mid-American Conference 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]

Erik Svensson

Weather rapidly alternated between rain and sun throughout the day Sunday, making for a long round of golf that ended in victory for Kent State.

The Kent State men’s golf team took first place in the Mid-American Conference Championship at Virtues Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio.

It was the 24th MAC title for the team, currently ranked No. 12 in the NCAA. The win gave the team its eighth title in 10 years.

“It’s a hard golf course,” said coach Herb Page. “I think it will hopefully prepare us for regionals and finals. If we’re gonna get it done, it’s gotta be all five of us.”

The team ended three strokes under par, 25 ahead of second place Ball State University.

The Flashes were led by sophomore Gisli Sveinbergsson, who won the tournament. Sveinbergsson led the tournament before losing the lead on the second day of play. He regained the lead in the final three holes of the tournament.

“I came into today trailing by two shots,” Sveinbergsson said. “We were even after the first nine holes, so I kept cruising and tried to get good shots. I’m happy with it.

Sveinbergsson said he was glad the team got to finish.

“We got called in two or three times,” he said. “The weather made the tournament a whole lot different.”

Sveinbergsson was followed by Ian Holt, tied for fourth place, and Chase Johnson in sixth. Holt also won MAC Golfer of the Year.

“It shows how good we were this year,” Holt said. “I was glad we didn’t just stop the tournament. I’m glad we got to finish.”

All five members of the team were also awarded spots on the All-MAC First Team.

“I’ve never seen this happen,” Page said. “It’s a first. Every one of them deserves it. They just dominated this year. It was based on their complete season, not just what they did this week.”

It was the final MAC Championship for senior Josh Whalen, the only graduating member of the team.

“It was pretty sweet that Gisli won,” Whalen said. “We had five individual tournament wins between four guys this year.

“That just shows how deep we are. We worked together and got it done. It feels good to get one more senior year. It was pretty cool to see all of us get first team and be up there. It was cool to share it.”

Page also won MAC Coach of the year.

“The thing is when you when a championship, you get the award,” Page said. “You reap the rewards when you win. The players make the coach. When you buy in and work hard, good things happen.”

The Flashes will next compete in the NCAA Regionals, which they have not yet received an assignment for.

“The season’s far from over,” said Page. “It’s a good group. We won in 2012 and went to the national championship. This place has a good vibe for us.”

Erik Svensson is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].