Kent State golf enjoys successful tournament weekend

Meghan Blaha

It was a successful trip south for both the men’s and women’s golf teams over spring break with the women taking home top honors and the men grabbing the runner-up spot against tough competition.

The women topped the field of 14 teams at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate at Eagles Landing Golf Course in Stockbridge, Ga., beating second place Old Dominion by 11 strokes.

“They play such a touch schedule this spring, so it’s the first tournament that they have won in two years outside of the [Mid-American Conference] tournament,” said men’s head coach Herb Page, who is also acting as the women’s interim head coach.

The Flashes made a statement in the final round, posting a 12-under, the lowest score of the entire tournament. Junior Jennifer Ha earned MAC Women’s Golfer of the Week honors by recording a one-under 71 in the final round to post the lowest round of the tournament and finished tied for second place. She finished the tournament with a three-round score of 226.

“Here you are on spring break in Atlanta and you think the weather’s going to be good and you’ve got them dressed in cold stuff and stocking caps,” Page said. “They were in second or third place, and they just came out and beat people the last day.”

Erin Hawe (234), Josée Doyon (236) and Natalie Goodson (239) all finished in the top 15 to push the Flashes to the top of the leaderboard. The team will take a three-week break before heading to the Lady Buckeye Invitational at Ohio State.

“With a win, I think they are headed in the right direction,” Page said.

The men’s team fought the elements to earn a second place finish at the Seahawk Invitational in Wilmington, N.C., only one shot behind the host North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks.

“We’re having a good run, we finished fourth in Louisiana, we won at Myrtle Beach,” Page said. “Most times you would be happy about that, and of course I’m happy, but when you lose by one shot you can just go over and say, ‘Oh my gosh, where did we throw away one shot?’”

A rain cancelation on the first day forced a 36-hole tournament as the teams faced 20-30 mph winds on the remaining two days of play. The 22nd-ranked Flashes were able to finish with a 29-over 605, four strokes ahead of third-place Maryland.

Junior Kyle Kmiecik tied for fourth, recording a 149, followed by junior Taylor Pendrith who tied for seventh with a 6-over 160. Pendrith is coming off a tournament win, as well as being named MAC Men’s Golfer of the Week.

Corey Conners (+8), Kevin Miller (+11) and Taylor Zoller (+14) all helped the Flashes climb the leader board. Though Page was happy with the team’s play, he can’t help thinking about the one-shot loss.

“All the mistakes that we made are correctable,” Page said. “Our short game is down and the wind was howling out there, so I’m not mad at the scores. The conditions dictated the scores, but we kind of controlled our own destiny and left some shots out on the course.”

The men will travel to College Station, Texas to face some of the top schools in the nation at the Aggie Invitational April 6-7.

“This is ranked as one of the top five most-difficult tournaments in college golf and they are all there, all the Southeastern Conference, Big 12,” Page said. “It’s a big test this weekend for us.”

Contact Meghan Blaha at [email protected].