Kent State Begins Play At 2011 NCAA Championship

Updated 5/31/2011
Story courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications

STILLWATER, Okla. -
A 16-over 304 team score No. 31 Kent State leaves the team in 21st place on Tuesday following the first of three stroke play rounds at the 2011 NCAA Men's Golf Championship hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club.  With the team starting the day on hole No. 10, senior John Hahn (Las Vegas, Nev. / Hudson [Ohio]) led the Golden Flashes with a two-over 74 that has him tied for 47th in the individual standings.   

"This course is a challenge for everyone," said Director of Golf/Head Coach Herb Page of the par 72, 7416-yard layout.  "We hit some really good shots on the back nine and were in a nice position at the turn, but we made a few bogey coming down the stretch and it started getting away from us a little bit."  

"The greens are quick and undulating so its important to put yourself in position to make putts.  We had some good looking irons into the green, but didn't putt nearly as well as we are capable."  

After all five players had made the turn, Kent State was just four-over as a team and one shot back of Arizona State for the morning wave lead.  Hahn helped the Golden Flashes to the top of the leader board with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 18 and 1.  Down to two-under for the day after another birdie on No. 4, he fell off course with four straight bogeys before closing with a par on No. 9.  

"For as tough as the course is if you keep it in the fairway its very possible to shoot even par," said Hahn, who finished tied for sixth at the NCAA Championship last year.  "I had it going out there for a while, but had a little string of bogeys which can easily happen when you get off track so I did not lose my cool and stayed focused.  

"We didn't play great but were just ok.  Once we get out there and get a chance to see the course some more we should be in good position.  Its just as much a physical battle as a mental one so tonight well get some rest and come out ready to play tomorrow."

Four-over following his first eight holes of the day, junior Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario / Highland Secondary) made birdies on No. 18, 2 and 7 as he played the next 10 holes as even par.  Hughes would end the day with a four-over 76 and is tied for 75th  The Golden Flashes top performer at the NCAA East Regional, freshmen Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario) is also tied for 75th as he too shot a four-over 76.  Pendrith began the day with a bogey then used birdies on Nos. 14 and 17 to get back to even.  He was still there through 13 holes, but ran into trouble posting two bogeys and a double bogey on the last five holes.  

Freshman Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario) produced the final counter for Kent State on Tuesday with a six-over 78.  Conners made two birdies on the day, including a 25-footer on No. 14.  He was one-over through 10 holes, but a series of three putts cost him on the front nine as he closed out the round with five bogeys in the final eight holes.  He enters the second round tied for 108th in the 156-man field.   Sophomore Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio/Sugarcreek Garaway), rounded out the Golden Flashes' competitors with a nine-over 81.  

No. 4 Georgia Tech is the first round leader with a five-under 283.  The Golden Flashes' 304 leaves them 12 shots back of the coveted eight spot currently held by No. 1 Oklahoma State with a 292.  After 54-holes of are complete, an individual medalist will be crowned and the top eight teams will advanced to a single elimination match-play bracket to decide the 114th national champion.  

Starting in the afternoon wave tomorrow, Kent State will once again paired with Pepperdine and Kennesaw State and begin tee times at 1:30 p.m. (CST) off hole No. 1.

Kent State Rd1 
T47 John Hahn 74 
T75 Mackenzie Hughes 76 
T75 Taylor Pendrith  76 
T108 Corey Conners  78 
T134 Kevin Miller 81

Rk* team Rd1 Total
1 4 Georgia Tech 283 283
2 2 UCLA 286 286
3 3 Alabama 288 288
4 8 Texas A&M 289 289
T5 9 Illinois 291 291
T5 12 Georgia 291 291
T5 27 Ohio State 291 291
8 1 Oklahoma State 292 292
9 6 Augusta State 294 294
T10 35 Kennesaw State 295 295
T10 7 San Diego State 295 295
12 16 Arkansas 296 296
13 11 Texas 299 299
T14 5 Florida 300 300
T14 21 San Diego 300 300
T14 18 California 300 300
17   Arizona 302 302
T18 26 Arizona State 303 303
T18 14 Southern California 303 303
T18 15 Duke 303 303
T21 13 Iowa 304 304
T21 31 Kent State 304 304
T23 10 LSU 306 306
T23 44 Northwestern 306 306
T25   Colorado State 307 307
T25 43 Michigan 307 307
27 29 Tennessee 308 308
28 36 Pepperdine 309 309
29 24 North Carolina State 310 310
30 25 Oklahoma 313 313  
*Rankings by www.golfstat.com