Golden Flashes pull away from the field in the afternoon
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. — When your first player off the tee holes out for eagle on No. 1 it is usually a sign of good things to come. And come they did for No. 18 Kent State which certainly started the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championship off on the right foot Friday afternoon. Paced by rounds of 283 and 281 the Golden Flashes have opened up a 30-shot lead after 36-holes of play at Rich Harvest Farms. Third round action continues on Saturday with the final round on Sunday.
"Our team fabulous and all the credit goes to our guys who just played the two great rounds of golf," said Kent State Director of Golf/Head Coach Herb Page, whose team is 12-under with a two round score of 564.
Sophomore Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario) holds individual medalist honors at the midway point of the event as four players from Kent State are currently in the top six. Conners navigated the first two rounds of the par 72, 6978-yard course in seven-under (137) with rounds of 70 and 67. After closing out round one with birdies on No. 17 & 18 he made four birdies on the front nine then added an eagle on the 650-yard 11th and a birdie on No. 14 that dropped him to seven-under for the afternoon and nine-under for the tournament.
"Finishing with two birdies in first round was big and helped lunch taste a little bit better," said Conners. "I was hitting some good shots all day and finally caught a few breaks and started to get some putts to fall in round two which made for a pretty fun day."
Conners wasn't the only Kent State player that had some success on No. 11 in the afternoon. In addition to his eagle, the Golden Flashes added two birdies and two pars for a four-under total on the lengthy hole.
"We struggled with No. 11 in the morning, but played the hole at four-under in the afternoon which gave us a lift," said Page.
Holding a 10-shot lead after the first round, the Golden Flashes slowly started to pull away on the front nine of round before all but putting the field away with the team's performance on the famed courses longest hole.
The seven-under, 137 shot by Conners gives him a two shot advantage over junior Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio) who posed rounds of 70 and 69. Senior Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario), the 2011 MAC Medalist is tied for third at 143 (72-71) while sophomore Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario) stands in a tie for sixth place at one-over 145 (71-74).
That eagle on No. 1 to start the day? It belonged to sophomore Kyle Kmiecik (Avon, Ohio) who set the tone when got things started when he holed out for an eagle from 110-yards on the par 4. Kmiecik eventually finished the round with a 76 followed by a 78 in the afternoon with leaves him in a tie for 24th at 10-over.
"The guys at the top have been leading us most of the year and today wasn't much different," said Page. "Having a 30-shot lead after two rounds is a pretty good position to be in so I'm not going to have a whole lot to give them in the way of a pep talk. Tomorrow we are just going to try to take it one shot at a time and hope to try to extend the lead a little."
Third round action starts at 9:40 am for Kent State. The Golden Flashes will be paired with second place Eastern Michigan (+18) and third place Bowling Green (+20).
Follow the team on Twitter @KentStGolf.
Course:Rich Harvest Farms: 2012 MAC Championship Setup Par 72 - 6978 yards