Men’s team takes flight without Hahn

Rachel Jones

Young Flashes look to shine on Sunday

When the No. 36 Kent State men’s golf team packs up for the General Hackler Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this weekend, it will leave one thing at home: Honorable Mention All-American John Hahn.

The junior, who recently earned MAC Golfer of the Week, cracked a rib during a hard swing at a tournament earlier this season, but Kent State coach Herb Page said the injury was unknown until recently.

“We think he cracked it making a golf swing at our Alumni Match in Florida about a month ago,” Page said. “We had him taped up, and he played in Puerto Rico in serious pain. But he couldn’t do any more damage.”

Hahn has been rehabbing his injury, but Page said the rib could only heal with complete rest. The date of his return isn’t known, but since it is early in the season, Hahn has time to heal.

“You don’t replace a John Hahn; it just doesn’t happen,” he said. “But out of something bad, something good always comes. In this case, it’s an opportunity for younger or less-experienced players to get some experience.”

That experience will be put on display at TPC of Myrtle Beach, where the Flashes will face 11 teams starting Sunday and Monday.

During the team’s last performance in the Puerto Rico Classic Feb. 21-23, the Flashes placed ninth out of 15 in the finals. Freshman Kevin Miller tied Hahn for 23rd place. Page said that performance guaranteed him a spot in the upcoming lineup.

“He had a fabulous tournament,” Page said. “The adjustment from high school to college golf will take some time, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Miller will share the lineup with junior Brett Cairns and sophomore Mackenzie Hughes. The last two spots will come from the pool of junior John Furlong, junior J.P. Paiement and freshman Isaac Charette. While a new lineup is challenging, Page said he has confidence in the group as a whole.

“Relatively speaking, they’re a little inexperienced, but they’re on a great golf team,” Page said. “It’s time to step up and see if they can take it to the next level and put some numbers down in a tough tournament.”

The weather also poses a challenge for Kent State. The Flashes, who have not played a round of golf outside in 18 days, will face 10 southern teams in the tournament. Page said he is frustrated his team is at a disadvantage, but will not use the weather as an excuse.

“Quite honestly, we’re sick of the snow, but we’re used to it,” Page said. “It’s part of being Kent State University’s golf team. We have the 22nd-most difficult schedule in the country, and that’s part of it: coming from the north and going down to play them on their turf this time of the year.”

Despite the climatic advantage, Page said the Flashes should be able to hold their own against the competition.

“We’re ranked ahead of some of them, and there are some of them ahead of us,” Page said. “I know we’re playing a difficult schedule, we’re playing some great teams, but that’s what we want to do.”

Although the Flashes had some recent setbacks, Page said the team is excited to return after a three-week break.

“We just want to go down and see improvement every day,” Page said. “Let’s hope we can shake those cobwebs off and get a good showing.”

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