Kent State men’s golf competed against seven top 50 universities and finished ahead of two ranked schools, No. 47 West Virginia and No. 32 North Florida, who tied for seventh.
A strong final performance on the third day from Julien Paltrinieri, who climbed eight spots, helped secure sixth place for the Flashes at the Seminole Intercollegiate, their first tournament of the spring season.
Sophomore Paltrinieri tied for seventh with James Madison’s Nick Schlickenrieder. He also finished ahead of No. 98 Connor Futrell of Troy University. On the final day, the sophomore golfer finished 2 under par.
“Julien had a very nice tournament. I have to see, it might be one of his best finishes in college to date, which is great for him and in his confidence. It shows that he, obviously, the time he put in in the offseason has paid off. So he seems to be ready to go and that should give him good momentum going into the next week,” coach Jon Mills said.
Junior Will Kurtz tied for 13th, after climbing 17 spots on the final day, with five other golfers including Furtrell. Kurtz finished the tournament two over par after finishing three under par during the final round.
“For him [Paltrinieri] and Will Kurtz to have really good rounds today, I think it was really important cause like I said, we got off to a slow start, but those guys kind of kept us in it. And then the guys that got off to a slow start ended up kind of coming back. So it helps with the momentum and the other guys see that,” Mills said.
The Flashes were represented by freshman Cade Breitenstine, junior Josh Gilkison and freshman Chris Vandette in addition to Paltrinieri and Kurtz. Kent State senior Chris Doody competed as an individual so his performance didn’t count towards the Flashes’ score.
Doody tied for 30 alongside three other golfers, Etienne Papineau for WVU, No. 49 Jamie Li for FSU and Michael Saccente for North Florida. Doody finished the tournament seven over the par despite being tied for 59 after the first round.
After Gilkison tied for third in the Maui Jim Intercollegiate Tournament, the junior golfer struggled at the Seminole Intercollegiate. Gilkison climbed five spots during the final round to tie for 34 with five other golfers. In the last round he finished two over par, with a final score of eight over par.
“Overall, happy where we stand; we got off to a bit of a slow start in round one, but played better in the afternoon. And then really the guys got off to a rough start today. … The guys hung in there and kept battling and managed to, shoot one over today and move up,” Mills said.
Breitenstine struggled during the final round, dropping five spots to tie for 44. His four over par on the final day led to his final score of 10 over par.
Vandette had the lowest finish for the Flashes with a tie for 60. His 14 over par on the final day led to him dropping 30 spots and tying with Will McFadden for Troy.
“Chris had a great first day. … Cade got off to a rough start today, but I was really proud of how he hung in there and ended up contributing to us in helping us shoot the score we did. … So they’re very happy with the way they did. Obviously if you ask him, he’s probably not happy the way he played, but to be able to kind of stick in there and keep working hard for the team, that shows a lot,” Mills said.
Kent State men’s golf will resume play at the Colleton River Collegiate hosted by Michigan State March 2 and 3.
Amanda Levine is a sports editor. Contact her at email@example.com.