Men’s golf gets snubbed in preseason polls

Cody Erbacher

The Kent State men’s golf team received two top 30 national rankings in two different preseason polls entering its opening weekend at the Gopher Invitational.

But after solid results from last season’s team, the preseason rankings don’t seem to give the Flashes proper recognition.

Kent State begins the 2010-11 season ranked 30th in the nation by the preseason edition of the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll. The Flashes received 26 votes in the poll.

The Flashes also finished 29th in Golfweek’s College Preview Top 30.

With every golfer from last season’s 20th national finish returning, along with three incoming freshmen, it is a below-par mark for a team that is poised to finish higher than last year.

“We’re playing a very tough schedule, so we’ve got a chance to prove we’re better than that,” Kent State coach Herb Page said.

Last season, Kent State earned its fifth top 20 NCAA finish in school history. The Flashes return everyone on that team, including incoming freshmen Corey Conners, Taylor Pendrith and Augie Ward.

Kent State was the fourth youngest team at the NCAA Championships last season.

The Flashes begin the season Gopher Invitational held at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn., on Sunday. Five players will compete in the invitational.

Golfers competing this weekend

John Hahn

The senior from Las Vegas is a two-time Honorable Mention All-American and is the only two-time Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year in school history. His 72.35 scoring average is only second in Kent State history to Ben Curtis.

Hahn has three career wins and 11 top five finishes.

Brett Cairns

The senior from Courtland, Ontario, has played every round for Kent State during his career, which includes 122 consecutive rounds. Cairns also has a 73.43 career scoring average, the fourth lowest in school history. He is a two-time First Team All-MAC golfer. Cairns also earned MAC Golfer of the Year during his junior year.

Mackenzie Hughes

The junior from Dundas, Ontario, earned the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year Award and finished in the top 150 players in the nation last year. He has been on the MAC All-Tournament Team in his first two seasons. He was named to the First Team All-MAC last season.

Corey Conners

The freshman from Listowel, Ontario, brings a lot of talent to the roster as he was named one of Golfweek’s 2010 preseason freshmen to watch. Conners won the 2010 Investors Group Ontario Amateur Championship after setting a course-record 65 in the final round.

Kevin Miller

The sophomore from Dover, Ohio, was named the 2010 MAC Freshman of the Year. Miller was also Kent State’s top finisher in the 2010 NCAA East Regional.

–Cody Erbacher