But there's nothing normal about the circumstances surrounding

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But there's nothing normal about the circumstances surrounding the 1998 NCAA Championships, as the scorecards certainly indicate.

The Kent State golf team shot 6-over-par 294 in Thursday's second round to move to 7 over after 36 holes, but still missed the cut by 10 strokes as college golf's elite carved up the University of New Mexico Championship Course in record fashion.

UNLV surged to the top by firing an unheard of 19-under 269 on Thursday to move to 23-under 553 for the tournament. Georgia Tech is second (558), followed by Clemson (561), UCLA and Oklahoma State (564).

Ohio State was one of 15 teams to make the cut, as the Buckeyes shot a second-round 286 and currently rest in ninth at 6-under 570. Miami of Ohio also made the cut (eighth, 569), along with Minnesota, which shot 13-under 275 to vault from 29th to 12th place.

Meanwhile, the Golden Flashes wound up 24th overall, the third-best showing in school history at the NCAA Championships.

"I never saw so many scores under par. This was unimaginable," said Kent State coach Herb Page. "The conditions were perfect _ 90 degrees, no wind _ and these teams just tore it up. We played with California, and they shot 11-under today. We were with them from tee to green, but they hit the putts and we didn't. That was the difference."

J.J. Henry of Texas Christian fired his second consecutive 67 (10-under) to take a one-stroke lead over Charles Warren of Clemson and Kyle Voska of Miami of Ohio in the medalist race. Bill Lunde of UNLV shot the low round of the day, a 7-under 65.

Meanwhile, freshman Jon Mills shot 1-under 71 while sophomore Ben Curtis fired an even-par 72 to pace the Golden Flashes. Both finished the tournament 1-under par (tied for 48th), missing a playoff to make the cut individually by one stroke.

Junior Rich Daugherty shot a second-round 75 to finish at plus-three, while senior Todd Lancaster shot 76 and freshman Danny Sahl finished with a 77.

"We didn't play very well today, and we have no excuses," said Page. "We knew we had to shoot 3- or 4-under to make the cut, and we very easily could have done it. But we just kept missing putts.

"Still, looking at the big picture, we had a great season and I'm very proud of what this young team accomplished. And we'll still be young next year, so hopefully, we learned something from this experience."

_____

NCAA Championships

(at University of New Mexico Championship Course, par 72)

Team Scores

(after two rounds, top 15 make the cut)

1. UNLV, 553; 2. Georgia Tech, 558; 3. Clemson, 561; 4. (tie) UCLA, Oklahoma State, 564; 6. South Carolina, 566; 7. California, 567; 8. Miami (Ohio), 569; 9. (tie) Ohio State, Florida, Houston, 570; 12. (tie) Arizona State, Minnesota, 571; 14. Texas Christian, 572; 15. Auburn, 573; 16. New Mexico, 574; 17. Georgia, 575; 18. North Carolina State, 576; 19. Northwestern, 577; 20. Nebraska, 578; 21. East Tennessee State, 579; 22. Fresno State, 580; 23. Southeastern Louisiana, 582; 24. Kent State, 583; 25. North Carolina, 585; 26. UC-Santa Barbara, 589; 27. (tie) Oregon, Augusta State (Ga.), 590; 29. Oklahoma, 592; 30. Arizona, 593.

Top 10 Individuals

1. J.J. Henry (TCU), 134; 2. (tie) Charles Warren (Clem.), Kyle Voska (MiOh.), 135; 4. (tie) Matt Kuchar (GT), Joel Kribel (Stan.), Bryce Molder (GT), 136; 7. (tie) James McLean (Minn.), Bo Van Pelt (OkSt.), Steve Bradley (Fla.), 137.

KENT STATE (583) _ t48. Jon Mills, 72-71-143; t48. Ben Curtis, 71-72-143; t97. Rich Daugherty, 72-75-147; t134. Danny Sahl, 75-77-151; 154. Todd Lancaster, 85-76-161.

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