Kent State grabs lead at Irish Creek
Hughes' 7-under 65 leads Golden Flashes in second round
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- A near record-breaking second round and six players in the top 16 helped lead No. 21 Kent State to a 12-shot lead after the first day of play at the Irish Creek Collegiate on Saturday. The Golden Flashes' 280 (-4) and 273 (-11) led to a 36-hole total of 553 (-15) with the final 18 holes left at the par 71, 7,099-yard Club at Irish Creek.
"We just played awesome in the afternoon, which has allowed us to build up a nice lead," Kent State head coach Herb Page said. "There are still 18 holes left to play, but the ball is in our court. We need to come out and play focused and not get to comfortable with where we are at."
In the second round, all five players in the line-up shot even-par or better as the Golden Flashes team score was only two shots of the school record of 271, which was last reached in the third round of the 2009 Mid-American Conference Championship.
Mackenzie Hughes took the lead for Kent State in round two with a team best 65 (-7) which also matched the fourth lowest individual round in school history. After making one birdie against one bogey in round one, he made birdie on five of his first eight holes in round two then added two more with only one bogey on the back nine. Hughes 36-hole total of 136 (71-36) leaves him two back of Sebastian MacLean of Xavier who currently holds individual honors with a 134 (-8).
Kent State had a three-shot lead on the 13-team field following the opening round which was paced by a pair of 69s from Kyle Kmiecik and Taylor Pendrith.
Not far behind Hughes is Kmiecik who is tied for fourth at 137 (69-68) after posting the first back-to-back sub-70 rounds of his Kent State career. Kevin Miller is competing as an individual this week and is tied for fourth as well after rounds of 68 and 69 on Saturday.
Pendrith followed his 69 with a 71 and is tied for 11th at 140. Corey Conners is tied for 16th with a 142 posting rounds of 73 and 69. In his first start since the opening week of the season back in September, Taylor Zoller had two counters with a pair of 71s that leave him tied for 16th as well at 142.
"Playing 36 holes in one day can be a marathon both physically and mentally, so it was nice to see us put back-to-back rounds together," Page said.