Men’s golf poised for national title run

Cody Erbacher

The Kent State men’s golf team finished 20th in the nation at the end of last season. This year, the whole roster will return, and the Flashes are set to make another national ranking.

The seven members on last year’s roster that scored a 13-over par to finish 20th in the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship will be returning as three seniors, two juniors and two sophomores.

Incoming freshmen Cory Conners, Taylor Pendrith and Nathan Tarter will be adding to last year’s depth in hopes of improving this year’s team. Conners won the Investors Group Ontario Amateur Championship at the beginning of July.

“I didn’t lose anybody. The whole team is returning,” Kent State coach Herb Page said. “We’ve also got excellent freshman recruits coming in. I don’t know what the golf publications are going to say, but I‘d assume we’re going to get a top-20 finish.”

In order to compete at the national level, the Flashes must win their third consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship. Kent State has 18 championships in school history.

“We expect every year to compete for the MAC Championship,” Page said. “We expect to get to the NCAA regionals. We expect to get to the finals. We want to win the national championship. I’m not afraid to say that.”


Key returner: John Hahn

Key departure: N/A

2009 Finish: MAC Champions, 20th-place at NCAA Championship

2010 Prospects: With the entire team from last year returning and the addition of two strong recruits, the Flashes can forge their own destiny this season. Kent State’s first national championship title might not be out of reach this spring.

Although the Flashes want to win the national championship, it’s not a guarantee the team can get to the finals. Page said the golfers have to put in a lot of hard work, while constantly improving.

“We want to have a chance at the national finals,” he said. “We’ve had that chance a few times. Is that hard to do? Absolutely, it’s a very, very tough task.”

Leading Kent State on the golf course is senior John Hahn, who led the team in the NCAA Championship match with a sixth place finish. Hahn’s finish is tied for the best in Kent State history.

Following Hahn on the Kent State team was junior Mackenzie Hughes and sophomore Kevin Miller, who finished 41st and 72nd, respectively.

With all three golfers returning to the Kent State team for one more year, the team is poised to finish at the top of the MAC again.

“They feed off of each other,” Page said. “They work hard together and those three at the top of our lineup are awfully strong. We’re very fortunate to have those types of players.”

During the offseason, the golfers still need to stay fresh. First Team All-MAC members of Hahn, Hughes and senior Brett Cairns will compete in the Western Amateur, which Hahn won in 2009.

“These young men are obviously great college players,” Page said, “but they’re highly ranked amateur players in North America and the world, so they have high expectations and they’re playing at a very high level every week.”

Contact assistant sports editor Cody Erbacher at [email protected].