Golden Flashes hold 40-shot lead; look to wrap up fourth straight title on Sunday
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. — A fourth straight Mid-American Conference Championship is now just 18 holes away for No. 18 Kent State which added 10 shots to its lead in the third round of play at the 66th annual event on Saturday. Playing the par 72, 6978-yard Rich Harvest Farms course, the Golden Flashes shot a team score of 291 (+3) to extend its advantage to 40-strokes heading into Sunday's final round.
"Another good solid day for us. We just worked our way around the golf course," said Kent State Director of Golf/Head Coach Herb Page. "We had a couple of little mistakes otherwise we would have been under par once again, but overall we are pretty pleased with where we are at."
Saturday's round proved to be just another day at the office for the balanced Kent State lineup. As they did yesterday sophomore Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario) and junior Kevin Miller (Dover, Ohio) paced the squad as each shot an even par round of 72. Conners' 72, which consisted of two birdies against two bogeys, allowed him to maintain his two shot lead on Miller on top of the individual standings. The second year player heads into Sunday at seven-under, 209 (70-67-72) for the tournament and looking to wrap up his first collegiate title.
He is expected to be pushed by Miller however whom remains within striking distance after carding four birdies and four bogeys in his even-par round on Saturday. With a five-under 211 (70-69-72) 54-hole total he has a four shot lead over the next closest competitor.
"Our team as a whole just has to play our own game tomorrow, not focus on the big lead and lollygag around," said Miller. "We have to keep pressing forward, maintain our edge and try to go out and fire a good number tomorrow."
Holding on to his position in the top five today was senior Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario) who posted a two-over 74 making 16 pars and two bogeys. Hughes heads into Sunday at one-over 217 (72-71-74) for the Championship and tied for fourth overall. Sophomore Kyle Kmiecik (Avon, Ohio) contributed the fourth counter of the day for Kent State with his one-over 73 that was jump started by and eagle on the par 5, 510-yard second hole. He beings the final round in a tie for 21st at 11-over, 227 (76-78-73).
Sophomore Taylor Pendrith (Richmond Hill, Ontario) also eagled No. 2 on Saturday before finishing with a three-over 75. He is currently tied for 8th at four-over 220 (71-74-75).
With a nine-under, 855 (283-281-291) team score, Kent State sits ahead of Eastern Michigan 895 and Ohio 896 in second and third respectivley as only 11 shot separate places 2-9. The Golden Flashes will be going after the tournament record for the widest margin of victory on Sunday which was set by Ohio in 1960 when the Bobacts won by 44 strokes.
"With the lead we have now its not about the other teams tomorrow, but about us staying focused and playing another round of good consistent golf," said Page. "The NCAA Regionals are only two weeks away and there are still room for improvement."
Final round action starts at 8:50 am for Kent State.
Follow the team on Twitter @KentStGolf.
Course:Rich Harvest Farms: 2012 MAC Championship Setup Par 72 - 6978 yards