Section: Golf

Owls win tournament, Oakes makes run for U.S. Open bid

Owls win tournament, Oakes makes run for U.S. Open bid

Oakes | COURTESY OF MARTY FULLER

On April 21-22, the No. 24 Kenyon golf team traveled to northern Ohio to compete in the Dan Caschera Classic. In a field of 13 teams, the Owls came out on top, marking their second consecutive tournament win following their recent success at the Fred Kravetz Invitational. A week later, the Owls competed in the Denison University Spring Shootout on Sunday, with their ‘A’ team earning a third-place finish after falling behind Wittenberg University’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams. 

In the first round, Kenyon set the pace with a collective score of 301, establishing a seven-stroke lead over John Carroll University’s ‘A’ team. Maintaining their momentum on Monday, the Owls delivered another impressive performance, posting a score of 229. 

Jaiden Koonar ’27 secured an individual second-place finish with a two-day total of 146 strokes, highlighted by six birdies. Following behind, Will Hulsey ’26 finished with 149 strokes and seven birdies, earning him third place on the leaderboard. Jonathan Oakes ’27 finished in a tie for sixth place with a score of 153 strokes. 

Armand Ouellette ’25 and Garrett Thesing ’24 stayed close together the majority of the tournament before Ouellette carded a total of 154 strokes to claim a tie for eighth place. Thesing finished with a total of 158 strokes, earning a tie for 25th place. 

In an email to the Collegian, Hulsey shared how the team was able to find success: “We all played in the same group as fivesomes this tournament, so we did a really good job of bouncing energy off of each other, and getting momentum going.”

With another win in their pocket, the Owls traveled to Granville, Ohio. Oakes earned an individual second-place finish with a 68, marking the third-best round from an Owl this season. “We had a lot of people come out to watch because the course was less than an hour away,” Oakes shared in an email to the Collegian. “I was able to feed off the support and energy from the crowd.” 

Both Thesing and Koonar tied for 10th place with 75 strokes each, while Ouellette carded a 77 to finish in a tie for 22nd. Rounding it out for the Owls’ ‘A’ team was Hulsey, who claimed a tie for 30th with 79 strokes. 

Kenyon’s ‘B’ team took 10th place, trailing Hiram College’s ‘A’ team by four strokes. Rafael Frias IV ’27 tied with Hulsey in 30th, while Robbie Lifson ’27 and Griffin Ward ’24 tied for 47th, both carding 82-stroke rounds. Finally, Oliver McGovern ’27 ended his round tied in 56th with 85 strokes. 

On Tuesday, Oakes traveled to Columbus to compete in the local qualifier for the 2024 U.S. Open, where he finished in a tie for second place, enough to advance him to the U.S. Open Sectional qualifying round. With the help of Ouellette as his caddy, Oakes carded a 68 in the 18-hole tournament to finish four under par, just two shots behind the leader. 

Looking ahead, Oakes will compete in sectionals on June 3 in New Jersey. The top-two finishers in the 36-hole, two-round tournament will make it through to the U.S. Open, which will be played a week later in North Carolina. Oakes is excited by the result, but remains focused on his preparation for the next round. “Just making it through the first round feels amazing, but my next month is going to be a lot of prep for that day. All in all it’s an amazing opportunity.”

Before Oakes shifts his focus, the team will compete in the NCAC tournament from May 3-5. Hulsey shared his excitement for the upcoming weekend: “We’re one of the best teams in the country from top to bottom,” he said. “I can’t wait to showcase our talent.”

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