Courtesy of Kent State Sports Information
ANN ARBOR, Mich. —
California here they come! No. 18 Kent State is off to the men's golf 2012 NCAA Championship at Riverera County Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. next week. The Golden Flashes have advanced to their third straight finals appearance after taking third place at the NCAA Central Regional on Saturday afternoon to finish with a -8, 844 (286-276-282) 54-hole total.
"It's another great day for Kent State golf," said Page, whose team is moving on to the NCAA Finals for a third straight year for the first time since 1995.
"It's hard to get out of these things. All the teams are very good here, but our guys have been playing great all year so it doesn't surprise me. It was an awesome three straight days of playing by the Golden Flashes."
Saturday's final round was highlighted by a -2, 69 from junior Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio) who earned his third consecutive top 20 Regional finish. Miller was steady throughout the day making birdies on No. 4. 6 and 10 against only one bogey coming on No. 16. His -3, 210 (73-68-69) tied him for 11th and equaled the fifth lowest 54-hole score in a Regional by a Kent State player.
The other three counters all came in the form of an even par 71 from sophomores Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario), Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario) and Kyle Kmiecik (Avon, Ohio). Conners road his final round into a tie for 13th as he finished with a -2, 211 (71-69-71). Pendrith tied for 19th at even-par, 213 (72-70-71) as did senior Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario) (70-69-74), who shot a +2 74 on Saturday.
The four top 20 finishers help give the Golden Flashes their second lowest 54-hole regional total in school history at 844. The score is second only to the 835 shot by the 2010 Regional championship team at The Course at Yale.
USC which will host the national championship next week, won the Central Regional with a -11, 841, followed by Oregon at -10, 842. Virginia, -6, 846 and TCU, -3, 849 also advanced as the low five teams from each of the six regional sites are moving on to California.
"What I enjoyed the most today was the battle we had at the top with USC and Oregon to try to win," said Page "It was really tight and I think that competition is going to help us next week at the finals because those are some of the same teams we will be going head to head with again."
The NCAA Championship takes place May 29-June 3 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Kent State finished T-19th at the NCAA Championship last year and is one of only 10 teams in the country to have finished top 20 at the NCAA Championship in each of the past 2 years