Kent State held off runner-up Toledo by nine strokes, 1,465-1,474, to win the school's sixth Mid-American Conference golf championship in the last seven years Saturday at Quail Hollow Resort's Devlin/Von Hagge Course in Concord.
For Todd Lancaster, who has been on three of Kent State's championship teams, winning another title was anything but old hat.
After finishing his final-round 75, the Golden Flashes' lone senior stood at the 18th green to cheer on his teammates and be the first to greet each one as they finished their own round.
"I've been here four years and we've won it three times, but this year was probably the best one," said Lancaster. "My freshman year we had a really good team and we won it by quite a lot. Last year we won in a rain delay and the final round was canceled, so it didn't really feel the same. But this year we got to play all four rounds, it was tight, Miami played good, Toledo played good, and we had to battle it out as a team."
"As a team" was the best way to describe how the Flashes played the entire week.
"This truly was a team effort," said Kent State coach Herb Page. "We got contributions in the first round by our five and six men (Scott Porter and Rich Daugherty) shooting under par. Our ace player, Ben Curtis, shoots 68 when we needed it (in Friday's third round), and then the most obvious is Danny Sahl, firing 68 and 69 in the last two rounds to finish the golf tournament under par.
"Todd Lancaster and Jon Mills have carried us but they had, for them, just average weeks. But they were solid. Nobody had any really bad rounds the whole week."
Sahl's 2-under total of 286 made him one of only three players in the 60-man field to finish under par for the tournament.
For the freshman from Alberta, Canada, the week was the culmination of an incredible turnaround from a discouraging start to the year.
"Sahl is a tremendous story," said Page. "His stroke average in the last three tournaments is around 71 or 72, and there was a three-tournament stretch where his stroke average was probably around 90.