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Men’s spring preview: MAC

Kent State’s Corey Conners has accomplished a lot while being a Golden Flash for nearly three years.

He has won two collegiate tournaments, the MAC championship, he was named MAC golfer of the year, and has played in two NCAA Championships, including last year’s match-play portion of the tournament. It was the first time in school history that Kent State had advanced that far.

The only thing left? Winning a national championship.

While the Canadian racked up his second career collegiate victory this fall at the Gopher Invitational – overcoming an eight-stroke deficit heading into the final round – the team won the Jack Nicklaus Invitational and was runner-up at the Inverness Intercollegiate.

The victory at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational was by a four-shot margin over Oklahoma State – all without Conners. He was representing Canada at the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey.

Other players simply had to step up – including junior Taylor Pendrith (4th at Jack Nicklaus) and senior Kevin Miller (medalist at Inverness). With Miller’s win, the Golden Flashes took home two of the five individual honors at tournaments the team played in this fall.

With his victory at the Gopher, Conners’ finished in the top 5 in his last three starts, including the MAC championship, which he won, and a fourth-place showing at the NCAA Championship (the highest ever for a Kent State golfer). In the four tournaments he played in this fall, Conners finished T-15 or better.

“Overall, I’ve hit the ball really well, but how I keep my game in shape is I work on my short game,” said Conners. “We have a really good indoor short-game practice facility here (in Kent, Ohio), and I really work on that over the winter months.”

Jumping ahead to the spring, Kent State starts the season at the Louisiana Classic in early March and has five other tournaments before the MAC Championship.

“We obviously have to win the MAC again and play well at a regional, but if we make it back to NCAAs, the ultimate goal is to win, but winning a match and finishing in the top 4 in the country would be ideal, too,” said Conners.

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Where it stands now

Top of the class: Kent State

Best player of the fall: Corey Conners, Kent State

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Past champions

2012: Kent State

2011: Kent State

2010: Kent State

2009: Kent State

2008: Eastern Michigan

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Conference capsules

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