Men’s golf looks to carry winning momentum to North Carolina

The Kent State Men’s Golf Team playing for meet qualification at Windmill Lakes Golf Course in Ravenna on September 16th, 2011.

Meghan Blaha

Coming off a first place team finish last week, the Kent State men’s golf team looks to continue their success as the Flashes head to the Seahawk Intercollegiate Tournament in Wilmington, N.C.

Taylor Pendrith led the Flashes with a first place finish at the General Hackler Championship, pulling the team from two places behind to give the Flashes a share of the first place title.

Head coach Herb Page was very happy with the way his team performed down the stretch in order to pull off the win.

“We were very fortunate to win a big tournament last week and beat Arkansas,” Page said. “When you beat [Southeastern Conference] schools early in the year, you know you are doing the right stuff and the players are working hard, so this is just a continuation of us trying to get to the national championship.”

This is Pendrith’s first individual collegiate tournament championship and a great confidence builder for the No. 2 golfer, who was named the Mid-American Conference Co-Men’s Golfer of the Week. The pairing of Pendrith and junior Corey Conners creates a dangerous duo as the team moves into the spring season.

“Our No. 1 ranked player across the board is Corey Conners,” Page said. “Corey is one of the top 25 ranked players in America, he is on the Byron Nelson watch list, which is like the Heisman trophy, [and] Taylor Pendrith is close behind him.”

The team hopes to debut strong play from the beginning after having to play catch up late in the Hackler tournament. All team members will need to post low scores for the Flashes to compete with the tough competition heading to Wilmington.

“Our one-two punch is as good as anyone in the country, we think, but in order to be successful as a team, we need that 68 from Taylor Zoller and the 73 on the last day from Kyle Kmiecik,” Page said. “It’s five guys that win tournaments for you, not one, and we are eight or nine players deep and that’s what’s going to help us in the end, all that energy and competition is going to make us better.”

With the winter weather lingering in Kent longer than the team would like, Page believes having the opportunity to play outside will help the team continue to improve their play.

“Maybe the physical part isn’t there yet because we haven’t been outside as much as other schools, but that will only get better with time,” Page said. “Their heads and hearts are working, maybe their physical game [isn’t] quite where we want them yet, but their heads and hearts are working hard and I’m very proud of them.”

Rounds one and two will begin on Sunday, closing with the final round on Monday.