Kent State is in 11th place after the first day of the NCAA golf championships in Atlanta.
Here is the university's release:
ATLANTA, Ga. – Kent State recovered from a slow start at the Capital City Club to shoot a 2-over-par 282 and finish Tuesday's first round of the NCAA Men's Golf Championships in 11th place.
With Arizona State streaking out of the gate to a 10-under-par 270, the 23rd-ranked Golden Flashes found themselves 12 shots out of first place, but just three behind the seventh-place tie of Texas and Oklahoma. The top eight finishers in the 30-team field after Thursday's third round will advance to match play.
Director of golf/head coach Herb Page was thrilled with Kent State's position considering his team's six-over-par start after just four holes.
"The easiest part of the golf course is the first four or five holes," said Page. "We made a double bogey and a couple of bogeys early and just didn't get our engines going. But then when we got to the hard part of the golf course, we played awesome. I've talked all year about this team and how mentally tough our guys are. This was one of those rounds where you see 2-over par and think it was just a so-so day, but in reality it was a fabulous round."
Nick Scott was the exception in the Kent State lineup, cruising through the first 10 holes of the Capital City Club's 7,319-yard, par-70 Crabapple Course at 4-under-par. The sophomore birdied holes 4, 6, 7 and 10 before bogeying the 16th and 17th to shoot a 2-under-par 68 that was good for ninth place individually.
"I felt pretty good all day," said Scott. "Along with the birdies, I made two big par putts, a 40-footer on No. 8 and a 20-footer at No. 9 that really kept the round going. The putter was rolling really well. On the birdies, I just hit it close and made a lot of 4-and-5-footers. I had a really good time."
Senior Kevin Miller's round was emblematic of the rest of the Kent State team's comeback. After opening with double bogey and playing the first four holes at three-over, Miller battled back to shoot a 71 that was highlighted by back-to-back birdies to close at 17 and 18.
"I didn't hit the greatest drive on 17, but hit as good a second shot as I could out of the fairway bunker and made a 30-foot putt," said Miller, who is playing in NCAA Championships for the fourth consecutive year. "Then I hit my drive into the left trees and hit as good a shot as I did all day, a rescue shot to 4 feet and made birdie. It was a great finish. My day was typical of how we've been playing for a few tournaments now. If we just get started fast in round two we'll be better off, but it was a good job by our guys in round one to grind it out."
Junior Corey Conners struggled through a rare off day with his ball striking, but still managed to card a 1-over-par 71. Fellow juniors Taylor Pendrith shot 72 and Kyle Kmiecik shot 78.
"Our guys fought their way back," said Page. "I was very proud of Nick Scott shooting that 68 and Kevin Miller with those birdies on the last two holes. Corey Conners had his C-game today, but he still managed to shoot 71 by just grinding it out. There were some low scores by other teams, but we could have been a lot worse. We played our way to a very respectable round after that start."
The 2-over-par team total by Kent State was the fourth best score in Tuesday's morning flight. The Golden Flashes will play in the afternoon on Wednesday in pairings that includes Oklahoma and UNLV. Nick Scott will be the first Kent State player to tee off at 1:10 p.m. on hole 10.