Kent State Closes Out 2011 Season With Second Straight Top 20 NCAA Finish

Updated 6/3/2011

Story courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications

STILLWATER, Okla.
- No. 31 Kent State delivered its finest round of the 2011 NCAA Men's Golf Championship on Thursday to help earn the storied program its second straight top 20 national finish.  The Golden Flashes tied for 19th and ended the NCAA Finals with a 54-hole total of 902 (304-302-296) after shot a final round eight-over 296 amongst the toughest conditions of the week.

The performance put Kent State in elite company as one of only 10 schools in the country to have finished top 20 at the NCAA Championship each of the past two schools.  The Golden Flashes are joined on the select list by Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Augusta State, Arizona State, San Diego, Texas A&M, USC, UCLA and Illinois.  The 19th place finish is the fifth best showing in school history as the Golden Flashes ended the 2011 Finals tied with Cal.  

"I'm extremely proud of this group, the wind picked up today and our guys went out and shot not only our best round of the tournament, but one of the best final rounds by the entire field," said Director of Golf/Head Coach Herb Page who has now led Kent State to six top 20 national finishes.  "All of the young guys played well today and senior (John) Hahn capped off a wonderful career.  It was a great way to finish the year and I'm really happy for all the players."

If today's round at Oklahoma State's Karsten Creek Golf Club is any indication the Kent State program has a strong future despite the graduation of two-time All-American John Hahn (Las Vegas, Nev. / Hudson [Ohio]), who played his final collegiate round.  Junior Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario / Highland Secondary) led the youth movement for the Golden Flashes on Thursday shooting an even par 72 on the 7416-yard trek for his best round of the Championship.  Hughes started with a bogey on No. 10 before making birdies on Nos. 11 and 15 to make the turn at one-under.  On the front nine he went to one-over with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5, but a birdie on No. 9 closed out his round and left him tied for 81st with a 228 (76-80-72).  

Sophomore Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio/Sugarcreek Garaway) backed up Hughes with his second straight solid round posting a one-over 73.  Miller carded two birdies against three bogeys, but his most important hole came on No. 9.  After landing his third shot on the par 5, 623-yard hole in a bunker short of the green he made a nice up and down sand save for a par that sealed the Golden Flashes tie for 19th in the team standings.  Miller, who's second round 69 tied for the third lowest individual score in school history at the national championship, ended the tournament as the top finisher for Kent State with a team best seven-over 223 (81-69-73).  His week was good enough to tie him for 38th in the individual standings.

The freshmen duo of Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario) and Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario), came through with rounds of 75 and 76 respectively to round out the four counters.  Conners three-over score was his best of the week as he made a nice recovery following a four-over 40 on his first nine holes.  After shooting four-over and six over on the front nine the past two days, he was one-under today making birdies on No. 4 and 5 and just one bogey (No. 9).  Conners ended with a 234 (78-81-75).  Pendrith also made a nice recovery following a triple bogey seven on No. 10 to start the day.  He went on to make three birdies on the back nine and completed his final 17 holes in just one-over.  Pendrith placed tied for 94th with a 54-holes total of 230 (76-78-76).  

Hahn closed out what will go down as one of the finest careers in school history with a six over 78.  A three-time Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year, he finished tied for 74th with a 227 (74-75-78).  The top 20 finish is the sixth in school history for the Golden Flashes which placed sixth in 2008, 20th in 2010 and 19th in 2011 during Hahn's four years in a Kent State uniform.  The 2011 performance marks the first time in school history that the team has recorded back-to-back to 20 showings at the NCAA Championship.  

Kent State Rd1 - Rd2 -Rd3 = Total
T38 Kevin Miller 81 - 69 - 73 = 223
T74 John Hahn 74 - 75 - 78 = 227
T81 Mackenzie Hughes 76 - 80 - 72 = 228
T94 Taylor Pendrith  76 - 78 - 76 = 230
T118 Corey Conners  78 - 81 - 75 = 234

Rk* team Rd1 - Rd2 - Rd3 = Total
1 2 UCLA 286 - 288 - 298 = 872
2 4 Georgia Tech 283 - 290 - 302 = 875
T3 9 Illinois 291 - 287 - 301 = 879
T3 1 Oklahoma State 292 - 293 - 294 = 879
5 12 Georgia 291 - 288 - 305 = 884
6 27 Ohio State 291 - 299 - 297 = 887
7 6 Augusta State 294 - 294 - 300 = 888
8 15 Duke 303 - 293 - 293 = 889
9 8 Texas A&M 289 - 301 - 300 = 890
T10 13 Iowa 304 - 292 - 296 = 892
T10 43 Michigan 307 - 292 - 293 = 892
T12 14 USC 303 - 289 - 303 = 895
T12 11 Texas 299 - 301 - 295 = 895
14 3 Alabama 288 - 292 - 316 = 896
15 16 Arkansas 296 - 298 - 303 = 897
T16 7 San Diego State 295 - 301 - 302 = 898
T16 21 San Diego 300 - 304 - 294 = 898
18 26 Arizona State 303 - 293 - 303 = 899
T19 31 Kent State 304 - 302 - 296 = 902
T19 18 California 300 - 299 - 303 = 902
21 10 LSU 306 - 294 - 305 = 905
22 44 Northwestern 306 - 296 - 304 = 906
23 5 Florida 300 - 299 - 309 = 908
24 29 Tennessee 308 - 299 - 303 = 910
25 36 Pepperdine 309 - 310 - 300 = 919
26 35 Kennesaw State 295 - 312 - 314 = 921
27 24 North Carolina State 310 - 308 - 304 = 922
28 25 Oklahoma 313 - 304 - 313 = 930 
29   Arizona 302 - 310 - 321 = 933
30   Colorado State 307 - 322 - 308 = 937
*Rankings by www.golfstat.com