Story courtesy of Kent State Sports Information
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GALLOWAY, N.J ? Kent State sophomore John Hahn (Hudson, Ohio / Hudson) just missed a shot at advancing to the NCAA Championship as an individual as he lost on the second playoff hole to Clemson’s Kyle Stanley. As a team the Golden Flashes compiled a 305 and finished the NCAA Regional in eighth place in which the top five teams advanced.
The two-time Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year, Hahn took advantage of three straight bogey’s by Stanley to help erase a three-stroke deficit with five holes left. Playing in the same group, the duo started the day on No. 10 and stood all-square heading into their 17th hole of the day. Both players made par on No. 8, then needed birdies on No. 9 to finish the round with a 54-total of four-over 217 and set up the two-way playoff.
Tied for third overall in the tournament, Hahn and Stanley headed back to the 10th tee to stake claim to the lone individual spot which goes to the top finisher not on one of the top five teams. After both tee shots found the middle of the fairway, Hahn appeared to have the advantage when he landed his second shot - a six-iron from 190-yards out - within six feet. Stanley, the nation’s fifth rated player, also found the green but was 30-yards from the pin. With the honors, Clemson’s All-American calmly read the break and drained his putt to help force another hole when Hahn matched with his own birdie.
On the next playoff hole, the par 5 16th, things looked bleak for the KSU sophomore when his tee shot skipped down the left side of the fairway and just into the edge of a water hazard. Still alive Hahn was able to strip down to his bare feet and play the shot while standing in the water, knocking it back into the fairway. Meanwhile, Stanley’s second shot from the middle of the fairway found a greenside bunker and left some hope for the KSU faithful.
“Golf is really a cruel sport sometimes,” said Head Coach Herb Page about the two playoff holes, “Stanley hits a great putt from 30 feet out to help force the second hole and then Hahn’s tee shot skips through the fairway and into the water hazard.”
Hahn’s third attempted rolled just into the fringe of the green where a short chip and putt gave him a par. Stanley, however lived up to his profile, landing his sand save within two feet for a tap in birdie and the playoff victory.
“I know he’ll be disappointed, but I am really happy for Hahn,” added Page, “He finished tied for third at the Regional and was one stroke away from moving on. Earlier in the day when he struggled a bit, I was proud of the way he kept his composure and it helped give him a shot there at the end. He is a special player and will continue to do great things for Kent State in the future.”
Hahn posted a four-over 75 on the day to close out the tournament with a 217 (75-67-75). His T-3 finish is the best by a KSU golfer at a NCAA Regional since Donnie Darr took second in 1995.
With a two-over 73 sophomore Brett Cairns (Courtland, Ontario) led the team scoring today as he ended the tournament with a 14-over 227 (79-75-73) and tied for 30th. Cairns was three-under through his first three holes today with an eagle and a birdie before making the turn at one-under. On the back he had six pars, but recorded three bogeys.
Playing in his final collegiate round, senior Nick Latimer (Brooklyn, Ohio / Brooklyn) shot a 78 that included a birdie on his final hole. He finished tied for 34th overall with a 228 (78-72-78) total. Sophomore J.P. Paiement (Des Ruisseaux, Quebec) and freshman Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario (Highland Secondary) each shot a 79 on Saturday to complete the KSU line-up. Paiement carded a 234 (80-75-79) for the event while Hughes came in at 246 (88-79-79).
“We knew we were going to have to play extremely well heading in and the top five seed with the exception of Clemson all advanced,” said Page, “Other than the final four holes on Saturday, we just did score as low as we needed to in order to advance.”