Section: Golf

Golf outpaces NCAC opponents to begin spring season

Over spring break, the No. 23 Kenyon golf team started its spring season with two successful tournaments. The Owls traveled to Savannah, Georgia, where they tied for eighth place in a field of 19 teams at the Savannah Invitational. Then, the team drove to Pinehurst, North Carolina, to compete in the Tiger Invitational, where Kenyon tied for seventh place in a field of 18 teams. 

Head Coach Grant Wallace was proud of the team’s collective effort during both tournaments. “Our spring trip was great; we beat some really good teams and showed what our potential is,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Everyone in the lineup contributed during our two tournaments, which shows the depth we have.”

On March 4 and 5, Kenyon competed in the Savannah Invitational and started its spring season with a program record during the two-day competition. The Owls combined for a score of 872 strokes across the three rounds of play, setting a new program record for best score in a 54-hole tournament and breaking the previous record of 875 from 2016. Jonathan Oakes ’27 paced the Owls, setting an individual record in the process. Oakes shot par on his first day and finished the tournament tied for ninth place at five under par after shooting a 66 on day two of competition. His combined score of 211 tied him for the second-best individual score in a 54-hole tournament in Kenyon history. Oakes attributed much of his success to his teammates and their drive to push each other. “It’s a really cool feeling especially because the program has been around for a long time,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Our team culture pushed me to work really hard in the offseason — both in the gym and in ‘the lab’ [golf simulators], which led to the early success. It’s a really competitive environment and you don’t want to lose your spot in the line up.”

Not far behind Oakes were his teammates Will Hulsey ’26 and Jaiden Koonar ’27, who recorded scores of 218 and 219, respectively. Hulsey tied for 28th place, while Koonar split 33rd place with two other competitors. Armand Ouellette ’25 and Garret Thesing ’24 rounded out the Kenyon golfers, shooting a 224 and 239, respectively. The Owls tied for eighth place with the University of Lynchburg (Va.), who entered the tournament with a No. 5 ranking in the Bushnell/Golfweek DIII Coaches Poll. Kenyon also finished ahead of many ranked opponents, surpassing teams like defending NCAC champion No. 15 Wittenberg University and No. 16 Averett University (Va.).

The next weekend, the Owls were in action yet again, taking part in the Tiger Invite, where they finished in a seventh-place tie with No. 21 Guilford College (N.C). Kenyon shot a collective score of 602 across the two days of competition and was once again led by Oakes, who ended the tournament tied for 16th with a final score of four over par. Hulsey finished slightly behind Oakes in 24th place and shot a 71 on the second day of competition, the best individual round for the Owls during the tournament and an eight-stroke improvement from his first round. Koonar was once again just behind Hulsey, finishing with a score of 151 in 28th place. Thesing recorded a final score of 153 after two days and Ouellette was the final Owl on the score sheet, shooting a 166.

Coming off a very successful spring break trip, the Owls will head to Georgia this weekend to compete in the Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational. Oakes says the Owls are hoping to ride the momentum that they’ve created. “Going into Georgia, we’re looking to get off to a hot start and keep it going. Jekyll is the biggest and strongest field of teams we’ll play against so it’s important to get some early momentum,” he said. “I think it comes down to our decision making, which we’ve been working on.” Wallace followed up Oakes’ sentiment, saying that the team is fully focused on this weekend: “There are a few things we need to clean up as we head into the home stretch, but our focus is on the Jekyll Island Invitational this weekend…Thirty of the best teams in the country will be there, and the course looks like it sets up well for us.”

0 Comments

Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at collegian@kenyon.edu.