Golf teams going two ways

Brittany Tatgenhorst

Men’s season closing as women set to roll

The men’s and women’s golf teams approach the homestretch of their fall seasons with very different goals and confidence levels.

After having its best spring season in Kent State golf program history with a sixth place finish at the 2008 NCAA Championship, the men’s team has struggled this fall with 9th, 10th and 14th place finishes in its first three tournaments.

The men’s team faces its second to last challenge of the fall this weekend at the Windon Memorial Classic on the North Shore Country Club course in Glenview, Ill., and Herb Page, Kent State Director of Golf, hopes the men can turn things around.

“We need to get our confidence back. It’s been shaken up a little bit with our results the past couple weeks,” Page said.

The men spent practice on Thursday focusing on the fundamentals of golf in order to “get back to the basics,” Page said.

“Believe it or not, we’ve chipped and putted the ball fairly well,” Page said. “We just haven’t executed consistently.”

Page wants to see the Flashes play tough in the first round in order to gain momentum for the rest of the tournament.

“To get off to a good start is important in this tournament,” Page said.

The fall play is disappointing, considering three of the NCAA tournament competitors – junior David Ludlow and sophomores John Hahn and Brett Cairns – returned this fall and were looking to improve on solid spring performance.

“These guys are all really, really good players,” Page said. “They’ve been working hard at it.”

Page believes the team has the ability to succeed this season and looks to this tournament as an opportunity to bring the morale up.

“It’s nothing a little dose of confidence can’t fix,” Page said.

While the men prepare to end their fall season, confidence is in high supply for the women’s team, coming off of a tie for first at the Flashes’ first fall tournament.

“Every tournament we play in we have the ability to win,” Kent State women’s coach Mike Morrow said.

The team faces some challenges as it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C. to compete at the Tar Heel Invitational on Finley Golf Course.

“We’re a little short-handed,” Morrow said. “We’re going to be without one of our better players.”

Sophomore Martina Gavier, who had the third lowest scoring average last year with 74.2, will miss the next two tournaments with the Flashes, as she was selected to represent Argentina in the 2008 World Amateur Team Championship Oct. 8-11 in Adelaide, Australia.

“It’s like the Olympics of amateur golf,” Morrow said.

Even without Gavier, Morrow expects to win with strong players like Kirby Dreher, who won individual first-place honors at the Mary Fossum Invitational, leading the way.

“Kirby is an excellent player and team leader,” Morrow said.

The Flashes will get another chance to compete against Michigan State after tying them for first at the Mary Fossum Invitational. Other big name teams like Texas A&M and Auburn will challenge Kent State this weekend.

“We’re going to see a great field of play,” Morrow said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start and put ourselves into position to win on the back nine.”

Contact sports reporter Brittany Tatgenhorst at [email protected].