Men's Golf Championship Preview

Updated 5/2/2013

Men's Golf Championship Central 

Akron
AKRON, Ohio – With the regular season in the rearview mirror, The University of Akron men's golf team sets its sights on the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championship, which will be held May 3-5 at the par-72, 7,243-yard Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio.

The winner of this weekend's championship event will earn the MAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Championships.
 
Ohio University will play host to this year's edition of the MAC Championship, which will include four rounds over three days. Play will begin on Friday morning with teams teeing off from the No. 1 and No. 10 tees at 8:30 a.m. ET. Round two will immediately follow the conclusion of the first round. The Zips will begin the morning from the No. 10 tee, with the first tee time set for 8:30 a.m.
 
Saturday and Sunday's rounds will see threesomes teeing off from the first tee starting at 7:50 a.m. ET. The event is free to the public and fans can follow the scoring live via Golfstat Live Scoring.
 
With Akron and Kent State facing off this weekend, the championship event will serve as the lone PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge opportunity, with the higher-finishing squad earning a point for their respective school. Following the MAC Women's Golf Championship, Akron holds a 6.0-5.0 advantage.
 
The Zips enter this year's event following a tie 11th place (911, +47) at the Boilermaker Invitational April 21. Akron faced five MAC schools at the event, downing Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) while falling to Kent State and Toledo.
 
Charlie Bull led the Zips with an eighth-place finish, closing the weekend with a three-round score of 1-over 217. Bull posted a 4-over 76 during the final round.
 
The Zips finished the weather-shortened 2012 MAC Championship event in a tie for eighth place. Before play was cancelled for good, the Zips were tearing up the leaderboard, climbing five spots to third place. UA sat at 2-under with players on holes 12-15, the second-lowest round of the day to that point. But the foul weather forced the halt to the event, reverting Akron back to a tie for eighth place based on the 54-hole results.
 
Bull earned First-Team All-MAC honors as well as earning a spot on the MAC All-Tournament team after finishing in the top five. He closed his second MAC Championship event tied for fourth place with a score of 1-over 217.
 
For more information on the MAC Championship event, visit the official men's golf championship page on mac-sports.com. For more information and directions to Longaberger Golf Club, visit Longabergergolfclub.com.
 

Ball State
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's golf team heads to Nashport, Ohio this week for the Mid-American Conference Championship at Longaberger Golf Club.

The Cardinals enter the tournament with the second-highest ranking in the field, checking in at No. 56 in the Golfweek national rankings and No. 58 by Golfstat.
 
Four-time defending champion Kent State owns the highest ranking of all MAC teams at No. 22 by Golfweek, but an experienced Ball State group is primed to make a run for the title when the 72-hole event gets underway Friday morning.
 
The Cardinals' five-man lineup will feature four seniors in Joe Gasser, Alex Stinson, Tony Lazzara and Brodie Williams. The only non-senior in the group is the team's top player, junior Tyler Merkel.
 
All five golfers for head coach Mike Fleck have previous MAC Championship experience. Lazzara has the most, having competed in each of the previous three championships, while Gasser and Merkel have each played in two.
 
Merkel paces the team with a 73.00 stroke average this season and is rated among the top 100 players nationally in the Golfweek rankings. He is one of three Ball State golfers among the top 15 in the league in stroke average, along with Gasser (74.30) and Stinson (74.83).
 
Merkel, an NCAA Regional participant last year, won the Pinehurst Intercollegiate earlier this season. He finished second at the Firestone Invitational and has placed among the top 5 in five of Ball State's eight stroke-play tournaments.
 
The Cardinals won both the Firestone and Pinehurst events as a team and also finished second at the Pinetree Intercollegiate and the Mid-American Match Play. It is the first time the team has won multiple tournaments in a season since 2005-06.
 
Ball State will begin its quest for a championship Friday with tee times starting at 8:30 a.m. The opening day features 36 holes on the par-72, 7,243-yard layout at Longaberger, while the third round will be played Saturday and the fourth and final round on Sunday.
 
The tournament field includes all nine MAC men’s golf programs: Ball State, Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami University, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Toledo.
 
The Cardinals will be playing in twosomes with Ohio for Friday’s first and second rounds. Live scoring will be available throughout the tournament at golfstat.com.
 
Bowling Green 
The Bowling Green State University men’s golf team will look to end a 30-year drought at the MAC Championships this weekend (May 3-5), traveling to Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio. BGSU last won the event in 1983.
 
First-year head coach Kevin Farrell will lead a lineup that features two seniors, a junior and two sophomores.
 
Leading the group will be senior Wes Gates, who will enter the Championship event with a scoring average of 73.14, which according to www.mac-sports.com ranks fourth in the conference. Gates, a player of the year candidate, has three individual victories this season (John Piper, Cardinal Intercollegiate and Mount St. Mary’s Spring Invitational).
 
Fellow classmate Charlie Olson will enter this weekend with a 76.24 scoring average. Olson’s best finishes this season would be finishing 13th at the Cardinal Intercollegiate (71-70-76) and 10th at the Detroit Golf Club Classic (74-70).
 
Chris Melvin will enter Friday’s action with a 76.75 scoring average. The junior had an outstanding MAC Championship last season, finishing tied for 16th with a 225 (73-74-78). Melvin’s top performances this season are 53rd at the Marshall Invitational (77-73-72) and 28th at the Cardinal Intercollegiate (74-71-76).
 
Rounding out the Falcons’ lineup will be sophomores Joe Cooper and Ryan Triller. Cooper is coming off his best 54-hole score of the season, finishing 39th at the Rutherford Intercollegiate with a 231 (74-79-78). Prior to that, he finish second at the Mount St. Mary’s Spring Invitational (73-73-70). He will enter the MAC Championships with a 76.91 scoring average.
 
Triller, in his first year with the Orange and Brown, is averaging 74.73, second-best on the team. Triller most recently finished seventh at the Rutherford Intercollegiate (73-75-74). The sophomore also finished ninth at the Triumph at Pauma Valley with a 220 (72-72-76).
 
Eastern Michigan 
YPSILANTI, Mich.  — The Eastern Michigan University men's golf team will compete at the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championship Friday through Sunday, May 3-5, at the Longaberger Golf Club located in Nashport, Ohio.  Ohio University will host the three-day, 72-hole event for the nine MAC schools which sponsor men's golf – Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Toledo.
 
The Green and White will tee off at 9:10 a.m. Friday morning and will be paired with MAC East rival Kent State.
 
Longaberger Golf Club, which opened in 1999 and was designed by renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills, ranks No. 56 in the U.S. (out of roughly 13,500 public access courses) in GOLF Magazine's 2010 “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” list.   Longaberger is known as a player friendly course.  Legend has it, after a frustrating round years ago, Dave Longaberger threw his clubs into a pond and walked away from golf. Rather than building a wicked course that might inflict similar pain to his patrons, Longaberger is a course that is designed to keep players coming back, thanks to wide fairway landing zones and slopes along some sides that generate some favorable kicks.
 
The MAC Men's Golf Championships has been on the played on the Nashport, Ohio course twice; first in 2008 and most recently in 2010.  At the 2008 MAC Championships, the Eagles captured the title with a four round total of 1,171.
 
The Eagles finished second at the 2012 MAC Championship posting a two-day cumulative score of 895, after the final round was canceled due to inclement weather.  Three Eagles ranked in the top 15, including Brian Churchill-Smith (Oakville, Ontario, Canada-Oakville Trafalgar) and Derek East (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-St. Paul's-University of New Orleans) who tied for 10th place with a 221. Casey Olsen (Okemos, Mich.-Okemos-Oakland University) finished tied for 15th with a 224 (78-71-75). 
 
Kent State has won four consecutive MAC Championships, and six of the last eight.  EMU was the last team to edge the Golden Flashes, winning the tournament in 2007 and 2008.  The two universities account for the last eight MAC Championships. 
 
The winner will receive the MAC's automatic bid to one of six NCAA Regional sites May 16-18. The 2013 regional sites are: University Club (Baton Rouge, La.), Golden Eagle Country Club (Tallahassee, Fla.), Scarlet Course (Columbus, Ohio), The Blessings Golf Club (Fayetteville, Ark.), Palouse Ridge Golf Club (Pullman, Wash.) and Karsten Golf Course (Tempe, Ariz.). 
 
The NCAA finals are scheduled to begin on May 28 and will be played at the Capital City Club – Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Kent State
No. 22 Kent State heads to Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio for the 67th Mid-American Conference Championships this weekend May 3-5.  The Golden Flashes have their sights set on capturing a fifth straight and 21st conference title. 
 
The 72-hole event gets started with 36-holes of play on Friday, followed by 18 each on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday’s opening round, Kent State will be paired with Eastern Michigan off the No. 1 tee from 9:10 a.m. to 9:42 a.m.
 
Each team will play five and the top four scores from each day will count towards the team total. Longaberger G.C. will play as a par-72, 6,075-yard course for the field. Live stats will be available through golfstat.com.
 
Scouting the Golden Flashes
The Golden Flashes have won one tournament title in 11 events this season. The team is coming off finishing in a tie for sixth-place at the Boilermaker Invitational April 20-21. The Flashes played against the nation’s 23rd-toughest schedule and participated in four of the top 12 tournaments this season.
 
Ranked No. 22 by Golfweek, Kent State enters with the MAC’s lowest stroke average (294.48). The Flashes have 15 wins this year when competing head-to-head with Top 25 teams.
 
Four members of the 2012 MAC Championship squad will be in the Kent State lineup this weekend. The Flashes placed four in the top 10 on their way to a 40-stroke victory a year ago.
 
Leading the way for Kent State is junior Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario), who garnered MAC Golfer of the Year and Medalist honors in 2012. The 2012 PING All-American shot 209 at the at last year’s championship, which was shortened to three rounds due to lightning and rain. Conners is second in the MAC in stroke average (71.91) and has six top-10 finishes on the season, including his second career victory at the season-opening Gopher invitational. He is No. 27 in Golfweek’s rankings and owns 29 wins over Top 25 golfers.
 
Junior Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario) enters with a stroke average of 73.23, which is seventh in the MAC. Pendrith finished tied for eighth after shooting 220 at the 2012 MAC Championships. He has four top-5 finishes this season, including his first career victory at the General Hackler Championship.
 
Two-time All-MAC First Team selection senior Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio) will be playing in his fourth MAC Championships this weekend. Miller finished two strokes behind Conners for runner-up honors last year and placed ninth in 2011. He enters with a 75.57 stroke average and captured his first tournament victory at the Inverness Intercollegiate in September.
 
Junior Kyle Kmiecik (Avon, Ohio) is third on the team with a 75.44 stroke average this season. Kmiecik has been the team’s low scorer in two of the last four tournaments.
 
Sophomore Nick Scott (Union, Ohio) will making his MAC Championships debut to round out the Flashes’ lineup.  Scott has a stroke average of 76.05 over 20 rounds this season.
 
 
Miami 
NASHPORT, Ohio – The biggest tournament of the year is upon the Miami University golf team as it gets ready to participate in the annual Mid-American Conference Championship this weekend. This year’s tournament will take place at the Longaberger Golf Course in Nashport, Ohio. The 72-hole event will feature 36 holes on Friday, followed by single 18-hole rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
 
The Longaberger Golf Course is a par-72, 7,243 yard course. It was ranked 56th in the nation (out of approximately 13,500 public courses) in GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play list. In 2008, Golf World’s readers voted it the fourth-best public golf course in the world.
 
After running a qualifying tournament, Miami head coach Zac Zedrick has put together his team of five to compete at the MAC Tournament. Representing the RedHawks will be senior Brett Tomfohrde, redshirt junior Mark MacDonald, junior Austin Kelly and sophomores Luke Shaughnessy and Scott Cahill. They will take on a field of the other eight MAC schools that sponsor men’s golf, featuring four-time defending champion Kent State, as well as Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Toledo.
 
"I'm really pleased with some of the things I saw during our qualifying this past weekend,” said Zedrick. “It was competitive and got us into the right frame of mind for this week. I've seen some really good stuff from this particular lineup throughout the past month, but it simply hasn't come together at the same time. They seem hungry and eager to get to Longaberger and perform, which is the mindset we've been looking to get to by this time of year."  
 
The RedHawks will tee off from the 10th tee between 9:34 and 10:06 a.m. on Friday to begin round one. Live stats are available courtesy of Golf Stat here.


Northern Illinois
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois men’s golf team will travel to Nashport, Ohio for the Mid-American Championships Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. The four-round event will be contested at Longaberger Golf Club.

In the only 72-hole event on the schedule, NIU will joined by the seven other MAC schools all trying to catch Kent State, the four-time defending champion of the conference title. 
 
“With Kent State dominating the conference, they have the target on their back,” NIU head coach Tom Porten said. “We’re going to try to move up on the 36-hole day and get into that top pairing. We played with them at Purdue and it was a good experience for us. Our guys are hungry to try to get back to playing with them again.”
 
Three of the five Huskies in Porten’s lineup this week played in the MAC Championships when it was held at Longaberger Golf Club three years ago. Senior Kurtis Luedtke (Aurora, Ill./West) was the top finisher of that trio, shooting three straight 77s to secure a tie for 33rd. Redshirt senior Griffin Bauman (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) and senior Paul Hammerschmidt (Westerville, Ohio/Central) tied for 37th after shooting their best rounds on Saturday and Sunday.  
 
“We had some success with Griffin, Kurtis, and Hammer there three years ago,” Porten said. “It’s a great opportunity for the four seniors, three of whom have played (Longaberger) in the championship prior to end their careers on a high note.”
 
The fourth senior to crack this weekend’s lineup is Bryce Emory (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy). Emory enters the event in good form, less than a month removed from his Jim West Intercollegiate victory at TPC Craig Ranch, and he led the team with a tie for 24th at the Boilermaker Intercollegiate. Emory has posted finishes of T30 (2011) and T38 (2012) in previous MAC Championship starts. 
 
Junior Shawn Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North) rounds out Porten’s scorecard. Foley is the only underclassman making the trip, and he will also be making his MAC Championships debut.  
 
The conference will be challenging one of the “Greatest Public Golf Courses in America" according to Golf Digest’s 2013-2014 list. In the two most recent MAC Championships held at Longaberger Golf Club, the Huskies finished ninth (2008) and sixth (2010). The course will play to par 72 and 7,243 yards this year.
 
Foley will be the first Huskie to tee off, putting his drive in play at 7:38 a.m. (CT) on Friday morning to begin 36 holes of play, Emory will be the final Huskie off on Friday morning, his tee time is scheduled for 8:26 a.m. (CT).
 
Ohio 
ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s golf team will play host to eight other conference teams at the 2013 MAC Championships Friday through Sunday at Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio.
 
Ohio’s lineup for the annual conference showdown features seniors Byron Firestone (Canton, Ohio), Michael Lamping (Dublin, Ohio) and Bradley Lucas (Worthington, Ohio), as well as junior Connor Coldwater (Clarks Summit, Pa.) and sophomore Andrew Mlynarski (St. Michaels, Md.)
 
THE FORMAT
Each team will send five golfers to the event, which includes four rounds over the course of the three-day championship. The tournament kicks off with 36 holes Friday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. A total of 10 groups will start on the No. 1 tee, while the remaining 13 will tee off from No. 10.
 
The same pairings and hole locations will be utilized for round two Friday, with tentative tee times set four and a half hours after the round one tee times.
 
On Saturday and Sunday, threesomes will be seeded based on the previous day’s scoring. All groups will go off of the No. 1 tee, with the first tee time at 7:50 a.m. both days.
 
THE COURSE
Longaberger Golf Club, which opened in 1999 and was designed by renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills, ranked No. 56 in the U.S. (out of roughly 13,500 public access courses) in GOLF Magazine’s 2010 “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” list.
 
Golfweek Magazine rated Longaberger Golf Club No. 1 in Ohio in its 2010 state-by-state rankings. Don’t miss out on playing one of the best courses in the country offering one of the nation’s most superb golfing experiences. Longaberger Golf Club was rated the No. 4 Public Course in the country by Golf World’s 2008 Readers Choice Award.
 
Among the most dramatic holes on Longaberger’s 7,243-yard (par 72), parkland-style layout is the par-5, No. 4 that plays 565 yards from the back tees with a 150-foot elevation drop from tee to green. The course is defined by panoramic natural beauty, rolling hills and immaculate playing conditions.
 
A 25-acre natural grass driving range and practice facility, with target greens and a chipping, pitching and bunker area, ensures golfers of any skill level can hone their games in a secluded, finely-appointed setting.
 
LAST TIME OUT
The Bobcats are coming off a 10th place finish at the Rutherford Intercollegiate April 20-21 in University Park, Pa. Ohio shot a combined 920 (314-301-305) over 54 holes for a score of +68.
 
Coldwater matched the best finish of his career to lead the Bobcats on Penn State’s Blue Course. The junior fired a final round 71 to finish the tournament tied for seventh. His three-round total of 222 (79-72-71, +9) was just three shots off his personal best 54-hole score (219), while just two golfers among the field of 75 posted a score better than Coldwater’s in final round action.
 
MAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Ohio is making its 67th appearance in the MAC Championship this weekend. The Bobcats have won the event 18 times and Ohio student-athletes have won the individual medalist title on 10 occasions. Only Kent State (20) has won more team titles than the Bobcats.
 
Ohio placed third at the MAC Championships last season, held at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. The Bobcats finished just one shot out of second place. Lamping and Coldwater finished sixth and seventh respectively, marking their best finishes ever at the league championship.
 
Toledo
TOLEDO, OH — Toledo travels to Nashport, OH this weekend (May 3-5) to compete in the 2013 Mid-American Conference Men’s Golf Championship. The 72-hole event will take place at the par-72, 7,243-yard Longaberger Golf Club with 36 holes being played on Friday and 18 holes each on Saturday and Sunday. The winner of the event receives an automatic berth into one of the six NCAA Regional Tournaments.
 
Sophomore Chris Selfridge currently leads the MAC with a 71.8 stroke average and has registered seven Top 10 showings this season. Ranked No. 132 in the amateur world rankings, Selfridge finished third in last year’s MAC Championship and earned the conference’s Freshman of the Year accolades. 
 
Freshman Otto Black ranks second on the team and sixth in the MAC with a 73.3 mark and will be joined in UT’s lineup by sophomore Jamie Richardson (76.2), sophomore Mike Lancaster (76.5) and junior Oliver Holtsberry (76.8).
 
“We’re playing our best golf of the season right now, and I believe our guys possess the right mindset heading into this weekend,” Head Coach Jamie Broce said. “We need to maintain our focus and concentrate primarily on our course management to have a chance to be successful.”
 
Kent State captured its fourth straight conference title last year with a three-round total of 855 (283-281-291), giving the Golden Flashes the fourth-largest margin of victory — 40 strokes — in the 66-year history of the event. KSU sophomore Corey Conners claimed individual medalist honors with a seven-under 209 (70-67-72) in the weather-shortened event. 
 
The Golden Flashes have won the MAC title in 16 of the last 21 years with Toledo (2002, 2004), Eastern Michigan (2007, 2008) and Miami (1996) the only other schools to claim the crown during that time period. 
 
In terms of Golfstat’s national computer rankings, Kent State ranks first among MAC schools at No. 28 followed by Ball State (58), Akron (128), Toledo (130), Eastern Michigan (152), Miami (173), Bowling Green (214), Northern Illinois (223) and Ohio (227).

 

Courtesy of MAC Sports Informaton Departments