Flashes fall behind early, miss top ten

Thomas Gallick

The men’s golf team finished 11th yesterday in a tough field of competitors, including four NCAA teams ranked in the top ten, at the Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational in Toledo.

Coach Herb Page said the team lost too much momentum in the first two rounds of the tournament to post a top ten finish.

“I don’t think we played very well,” he said. “We had the sixth best team score Tuesday, but we got too far behind on the first day of the tournament.”

The Flashes started seniors Tom Ballinger and David Markle, sophomore David Ludlow and freshmen Brett Cairns and John Hahn in the tournament.

Hahn played the best golf for the Flashes, with a total of 10-over-par for all three rounds.

Hahn also shot the best individual rounds for Kent State with scores of two-over-par in the first and third rounds. Ludlow tied this mark in his second round of the event.

He said the team has room for improvement, especially in the short game and on par-three holes.

“I think we all need to putt a little better and develop sharper games,” Hahn said. “We’re playing the long holes well, but we need to capitalize on the shorter, easier holes and stop making mistakes.”

Florida State’s Jonas Blixt tied with Ryan Brehm of Michigan State to win the tournament’s individual title with scores of 3-under-par.

No individual had previously posted an under-par score in the seven-year history of the Inverness Intercollegiate, but four players finished under-par this year. Steve Cuzzort of Michigan State and Manuel Villegas of Florida both shot 2-under-par to tie for third.

Four golf teams ranked in the NCAA’s top ten: Oklahoma State, Florida, UNLV and South Carolina. All played in this event, which Toledo hosted at the Inverness Club – a course where the PGA has previously held the U.S. Open and PGA Championship major events.

Page said the team was competing against the course and the 16 team field.

“Obviously we’re playing against a tough course, but we’re here for the competition with the other teams first and foremost,” Page said.

Hahn finished the tournament tied for 28th, while Ballinger finished with the second-best score for the Flashes, tied for 44th with a 13-over-par score.

Hahn said the toughest part of playing in this tournament was adjusting to playing 36 holes of golf on the first day of each event, although it was also hard to compete with some of the best golfers in the country.

“It might be intimidating at first, and it shows you that you have a lot of work to do, but I learned so much from playing with golfers from other schools,” he said.

The Flashes did finish ahead of the sixth-ranked team in the nation, UNLV, who ended up in 12th place, but they came in behind Mid-American Conference rivals Toledo who finished in 10th.

Ludlow finished tied for 50th in the event, while Markle ended up in a tie for 55th. Cairns rounded out the scoring for the Flashes tied for 57th place.

The men’s golf team will play next at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate at Zionsville, Ind. on Sept. 22.

Contact Golf Reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].