Story courtesy of Kent State Sports Information
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - All-Aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo! The Kent State men's golf team is headed to Tennessee for the NCAA Championship after tying Texas for the East Regional title. The Golden Flashes shot an even par 280 with some impressive shot making on Saturday at The Course at Yale to tie the No. 7 Longhorns at five-under for the tournament. Coming down the stretch trailing by one, freshman Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio / Sugarcreek Garaway) chipped in for birdie on the 18th hole to help KSU earn a share of its third regional title joining the 1993 and 2001 squads.
With an 835 total (277-278-280) the Golden Flashes also set a team mark for their lowest score in a NCAA regional besting the previous mark of 849 set in 2000 by 14 strokes.
"What a major accomplishment, our guys were great all week," said Kent State Director of Golf/Head Coach Herb Page. "It started to get a little tight there down the stretch as everyone made a move for one the top five positions. We just hung around even (par) all day and then (John) Hahn and Miller came through with birdies on No. 18 that help put us back in the lead."
Throughout the fall Head Coach Herb Page continually juggled the KSU line-up searching for a player to emerge in the fourth spot. A consistent performer all spring, Miller officially put any worries Page had to rest this weekend. The 2010 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year turned in the best performance of his young career tying for fourth place after posting a one-over 71 today. His four-under 206 (67-68-71) total is the second lowest NCAA regional individual round in school history trailing only a 202 shot by Jon Mills when he won medalist honors at the 2000 Central Regional.
A 2009 All-American John Hahn (Las Vegas, Nev. / Hudson [Ohio]) carded a three-under 67 to move up 11 spots in the standings. Hahn ended the week with a two-under 208 (69-72-67) as he record his second straight top 10 NCAA regional finish. The 2010 MAC Co-Medalist along with Hahn, junior Brett Cairns (Courtland, Ontario / Holy Trinity) carded his third even par 70 which tied him for 21st overall with a 210 (70-70-70) composite.
Sophomore Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario / Highland Secondary), rounded out the scoring today for Kent State with a two-over 72. Hughes shot a one-over 211 (71-68-72) which tied him for 24th overall. Freshman Isaac Charette (Hudson, Ohio / Hudson) finished up his first NCAA regional with an 80.
"I am very proud of the way our guys went head-to-head with some of the best players in the nation all week," said Page. "We were seeded low so it makes it even that more gratifying to win. We'll be looking forward to hanging another banner in the Golf Center back at Kent."
Rhys Enoch, of East Tennessee State and Penn State's T.J. Howe shared overall individual medalist honors each shooting a seven-under 203. Along with Kent State and Texas, No. 6 UCLA, Penn State and No. 19 Virginia also advanced to the NCAA Championship which is hosted by Chattanooga at the Honors Course June 1-5.
The Golden Flashes will be making their 14th national championship appearance and first since a program-best sixth place finish in 2008.