Pendrith leads the men’s golf team as Flashes win Tuesday

Grant Engle

The Kent State men’s golf team won the rain-shortened Inverness Collegiate in Toledo on Tuesday behind a strong performance from the whole team.

The tournament was initially set to start with two 18-hole rounds Monday, but the course was deemed unplayable after heavy rain throughout the morning. The tournament was shortened to a single 18-hole round Tuesday morning, but assistant coach Rob Wakeling said the delay didn’t really affect the team.

“They came out ready to play today,” Wakeling said. “We needed to bounce back from the last tournament, and we did.”

Sophomore Taylor Pendrith led the way for the Flashes with a 70, finishing tied for second overall.

Joining Pendrith in the top 10 was senior Mackenzie Hughes and sophomore Kyle Kmiecik, who both finished tied for seventh with a 72.

Kent State coach Herb Page praised his team for not getting distracted by Mondays cancelled rounds and commended his golfers’ ability to play through some adversity.

“They played very solid golf all day,” Page said. “I think at one point we were five over, but we got into the birdie holes and played really well. I’m very proud of them.”

Hughes, a native of Dundas, Ontario, Canada, had his parents in the gallery while he earned his second consecutive top 10 performance after finishing tied for third in the Gopher Invitational Sept. 11-12.

“Toledo is only a 4 1/2 hour drive from where they live, so it’s one of the closest tournaments for them,” Hughes said. “It’s always nice to see them.”

The Inverness Club has been host to four U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, two U.S. Senior Opens and one U.S. Amateur Championship. Page was proud to get a victory at such an illustrious course.

“Inverness is a nice place to win a college golf tournament,” Page said. “The history of great tournaments makes it a special place to play.”

Wakeling said Monday’s rain had little effect on the playability and scoring conditions of the course, which is over 100 years old.

“The course was a little wet from yesterday (Monday),” Wakeling said. “But overall, the conditions were perfect.”

Pendrith was eager to get the tournament started Monday, but he was able to take the day to relax and get ready for what he knew would be a competitive 18 holes.

“I was kind of annoyed that we didn’t play yesterday,” Pendrith said. “But I prepared the same way I do for every other day before a tournament.”

Hughes echoed fellow Canadian Pendrith’s sentiment that the team maintained focus through the cancelled first day.

“It was unfortunate because we wanted to play,” Hughes said. “But we came into today well-rested and ready to go.”

Kent State, ranked 32 in the country by Golfweek magazine before the season, defeated larger universities like 5th-ranked Florida, 23rd-ranked Ohio State, Kentucky, Michigan State and Michigan.

The Flashes look to build off the momentum from their victory when they play the Jack Nicklaus Invitational at the Country Club at Muirfield Village in Columbus Oct. 10-11.

Page said the team is happy about playing another course with so much history and tradition.

“We played really well today, and we’re playing some really great golf courses,” Page said. “Life is good.”

Contact Grant Engle at [email protected].