Story courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications
RADFORD, Va. - Posting an eight-over 296 team score on Thursday, the No. 33 ranked Kent State men's golf team finds itself tied for third following the first of three rounds at the 2011 NCAA East Regional hosted by Virginia Tech at the Pete Dye River Course. With the team starting the day on hole No. 10, freshmen Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario) led the Golden Flashes charge after the turn and ended the day tied for eighth with a one-over 73.
Tipping the scales at a lengthy 7,665 yards, the par 72 River Course played right into the strength of Pendrith's game. The long hitting freshman made three birdies and shot a team low two-under on the front nine.
"I hit a nice drive on No.1 and then had a wedge go to about two feet to set up my first birdie," said Pendrith. "I came back with another good drive on No. 2 and just missed a another birdie. After that I just started rolling and was able to help the team out by dropping a few more strokes."
Pendrith's play helped rally the Golden Flashes to an even par performance on the front nine after the team combined to shoot eight-over on the back nine holes to start the day.
"We had a slow start but made a nice recovery the front nine holes today," said Director of Golf/Head Coach Herb Page. "When you get to this level of play in the post season you can not afford to be sloppy and make mental mistakes. We had a few of those early on, but I'm proud of the way our guys dug in and kept us in contention."
No. 4 Georgia Tech shot a 289 for a six shot lead over No. 16 Duke (295) and a seven shot lead over Kent State (296) and Oklahoma (296). Coastal Carolina (299) rounds out the top five followed by host Virginia Tech (300) in sixth. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each of the six regional sites will advance to the finals.
"The leader board is going to be tight all weekend," said Page. "There are quite a few talented teams in this field so were going to have to continue to play the way we did today in order to advance."
Sophomore Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio/Sugarcreek Garaway), and senior Brett Cairns (Courtland, Ontario/Holy Trinity) where just a stoke back of Pendrith as each came in at two-over 74 while senior John Hahn (Las Vegas, Nev. / Hudson [Ohio]) completed the scoring with a 75.
Miller who had an even par on the front nine, ended a string of four straight bogeys on No. 3 when he chipped in for eagle from the green side rough on the 588-yard par 5 hole. He followed two holes later with a nine-foot birdie putt on a 235-yard par 3. While just about everyone else was off to a slow start, Cairns helped kept Kent State on track during the back nine where he shot a one-under, making eight pars and a birdie at the par 4, 497-yard 15th. The front nine proved to be a bit more challenging for the 2010 Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year with four bogeys in the first seven holes, but he recovered with an important birdie on the par 5, 579-yard ninth. Miller and Cairns are among a group of 13 players tied for 14th.
Hahn's 75 consisted of one birdie against four bogeys as he sits tied for 27th. Junior Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario / Highland Secondary) rallied to shoot an even par 36 on the front nine following a five-over 41 on the back. His five-over 77 currently places him tied for 44th in the 75-man field.
The Yellow Jacket's Kyle Scott is the round-one individual leader with a four-under 68. Paired with Georgia Tech and Duke for the second 18 holes tomorrow, Kent State begins tee times of hole No. 1 at 9:10 am.
Kent State Rd1
T8 Taylor Pendrith 73
T14 Brett Cairns 74
T14 Kevin Miller 74
T27 John Hahn 75
T44 Mackenzie Hughes 77
Rk* team Rd1 Total
1 4 Georgia Tech 289 289
2 16 Duke 295 295
T3 33 Kent State 296 296
T3 28 Oklahoma 296 296
5 Coastal Carolina 299 299
6 40 Virginia Tech 300 300
7 East Carolina 302 302
8 UNC Wilmington 304 304
T9 10 LSU 305 305
T9 21 Virginia 305 305
T11 Lamar 311 311
T11 46 Mississippi 311 311
13 Yale 313 313