Men’s golf places second in last tournament of fall season

Kent State’s men’s golf team secured its fourth top five finish of the fall season, finishing second in the Quail Valley Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18. 

“I think for our guys to be able to go out there and get comfortable shooting low scores can be difficult,” coach Jon Mills said. “They handled it very well.”

The tournament was hosted by No. 28 Michigan State University at the Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

“For this tournament alone we didn’t know what to expect because it was a new tournament for us,” Mills said. “We knew the scores from previous years, and it’s kind of an easier golf course. You’ve got to shoot some really low scores.”

The Flashes got off to a solid start sitting in ninth place after round one carding a 5-under-par, 283.

“Playing Florida golf, it’s on grass that our guys typically aren’t used to,” Mills said. “It got very windy the last two days. That’s challenges that everyone faces, but we seemed to handle that really well.”

In round one, junior Chris Vandette shot a 6-under-par, 66, which put him tied for third place, and sophomore Cade Breitenstine shot a 3-under-par, 69 that left him tied for 10th place.

After two rounds, Kent jumped up to third place carding an 18-under-par, 558 on the day.

Vandette sat in fifth place after round two, carding a 9-under-par, 135 on the day and Breitenstine was tied for 12th place, carding a 5-under-par, 139 after two rounds.

Final totals left the Flashes in second place as the team shot a 28-under-par, 836 over three rounds.

The 28-under-par score tied the second best score in a 54-hole tournament in school history.

The team tournament winner was No. 11 University of Kansas who carded a 35-under-par, 829.

For the Flashes, Vandette went on to win the individual title carding a 14-under-par, 202 on the tournament.

“To go to a course that he’s never played prior to this week and adjusting to the conditions and playing really good golf was great to see,” Mills said. “He’s played great golf all fall, and I think it just shows how much all the work he’s put in and how it’s paid off.”

Breitenstine finished tied for sixth place carding an 8-under-par, 208.

“He had a good week as well, and he’s played pretty consistently for us all fall,” Mills said. “At times I feel like he hasn’t played his best, which I think is good to know. It’s good for the team to know that he can shoot the scores he’s shooting and have some of the finishes. But, I still feel like he’s got a lot to improve. It’s definitely good for the team and good for the future of the team.”

Graduate student Josh Gilkison finished tied for 19th place and shot a 5-under-par, 211, freshman Jordan Gilkison finished tied for 65th place and shot a 5-over-par, 221 and rounding out Kent’s top five rotation starters was sophomore Luca Civello, who finished tied for 69th place and shot a 7-above-par, 223.

The Flashes only individual competitor was freshman Bryce Reed, who finished tied for 39th place and carded a 1-under-par, 215.

The tournament marked Kent’s last for the fall season, and the team did not have a finish outside the top 10 in the five tournaments it competed in.

“As a whole fall, I was very happy with where we played,” Mills said. “We used this fall to do exactly what you’re supposed to do: get people in the lineup and get a feel for how the team is going to play. I’m very happy with how they played and I think that puts us in a good position going into the spring when it comes to the rankings.”

The Flashes will begin the spring portion of the season at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate Tournament hosted by the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15. 

“We’re going to sit down with everyone and kind of look at the [fall] season,” Mills said. “I think a couple of things you can always work on is short game. It’s such an important part of the game. And everyone can always work on their ball striking. So I think the biggest thing is just continuing to work on the wedges and short game stuff because that’s the difference between great teams and average teams.”

Kathryn Rajnicek is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]