Men’s golf secures third top five finish of fall season

Kent State’s men’s golf team finished in fourth place in its fourth tournament of the fall season, carding a 1-above-par, 865 at the Purdue Fall Invitational on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12.

“I think the biggest thing is that we’re a very resilient group,” coach Jon Mills said. “We didn’t get off to a great start, and they overcame a lot of weather issues and delays. We had to end up playing 26 holes or so on the final day.”

The tournament was hosted by No. 25 Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“In a tournament where we needed to finish and separate ourselves from the teams that we were close with, they went out and played really well, and we jumped up to fourth,” Mills said. “It’s one of those things that if we can get into that mentality at the beginning of the tournament, we can start winning some.”

The Flashes got off to a slow start in round one, but rallied back to finish the round tied for fifth place after carding a 6-above-par, 294.

After round one, top five rotation starters graduate student Josh Gilkison and sophomore Cade Breitenstine were tied for ninth place, carding an even-par, 72 for the round. Also, individual competitor sophomore Luca Civello finished the round tied for ninth place.

Around 5 p.m., round two play was suspended until the next day due to lightning and storms.

“Going into the week, they had a bunch of rain to begin with, so [the course] was really soft and usually that course can play firm and fast,” Mills said. “Then, the wind was blowing very hard the first day and that can kind of cause issues and stress. But, they hung in there and played well enough the final day when they needed to.”

Following the completion of round two, Kent was still tied for fifth place shooting a 3-above-par, 291 in the round.

Final totals left the Flashes tied for third place shooting a 2-above-par, 866 on the tournament.

The University of Indiana won the tournament carding a 6-under-par, 858 on the tournament. 

Breitenstine finished tied for eighth place carding a 2-under-par, 214 and Gilkison finished tied for 11th place carding a 1-under-par, 215.

“[Breitenstine’s] been a little frustrated this semester even though he’s played solid,” Mills said. “His expectations are very high and that’s great, but I think the biggest thing for him is staying patient and knowing that it’s going to come because he works hard at it. I think it was a nice bounce back finish. He’s been hitting the ball really well and started to make some putts. Hopefully, that gives him more and more confidence going forward.”

Rounding out the Flashes’ top five rotation was junior Chris Vandette, who finished tied for 14th place shooting an even-par, 216, freshman Jordan Gilkison, who finished tied for 36th place shooting a 6-above-par, 222 and senior Jared Wilson, who finished tied for 64th place shooting a 15-above-par, 231.

Kent’s two individual competitors finished tied for third and tied for 57th place respectively. Civello finished tied for third place carding a 3-under-par, 213 and junior Jack Doody finished tied for 57th place carding a 13-above-par, 229.

“[Civello] ended up getting an opportunity as an individual and did amazing,” Mills said. “When I have a player that I put in as an individual and they do what they did it’s impressive to see. That earned him a spot next week in Florida. I can’t say enough good things about how he’s been put in tough situations and has played really well. He just seems super motivated this semester and really excited to see if that continues.”

The tournament’s individual winner was sophomore Herman Wibe Sekne of Purdue University who shot an 11-under-par, 205.

The Flashes will close out the fall season at the Quail Valley Collegiate Championship in Vero Beach, Florida hosted by Michigan State University on Sunday, Oct. 17 and Monday, Oct 18.

“I feel like we’ve played solid to this point, but we need to go down there and really prove something to the rest of collegiate golf,” Mills said. “I think there’s an opportunity for us to do that. It’s a new tournament for us, but we’re going to get down there and play it and be ready for it.”

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