July 12, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – The drive toward Matt Grobe’s second season as Marshall golf coach continues with a busy summer for the men on the Herd roster.
The Thundering Herd has five matches set for the 2013-14 fall schedule, headlined – and opened – by the 44th annual Marshall Invitational on Sept. 9-10 at Guyan Golf & Country Club.
The 36-hole invitational is set with a 15-team field, Grobe said.
The Herd finished in a second-place tie with Ohio State (behind Virginia Tech) last September on the 6,673-yard, par-71 “home” Guyan layout. This season, MU will be entertaining Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Dayton, Eastern Kentucky, High Point, Loyola (Md.), Northern Kentucky, Ohio, Richmond, Western Kentucky, William & Mary, Wright State and Xavier.
Meanwhile, Grobe’s team has been working toward its own tournament, as 2013 NCAA regional qualifier Nathan Kerns continues to make headlines in the months after his MU career closed.
Kerns is tied for 19th – 2-over-par 144 -- in the storm-plagued and rain-shortened Ohio Amateur Championship, where the Ironton native is the defending champion. The Ohio Amateur ends today (Friday) at Brookside Country Club in Canton, cut from 72 to 54 holes by weather earlier in the week.
Then, it will be a quick turnaround for Kerns, who heads to Lorton, Va., for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, scheduled July 15-20 at the new Laurel Hill Golf Club. Kerns will be part of a 156-player field that will play two rounds of medal play to qualify for a 64-player match play bracket.
The par-70 Laurel Hill – built on former District of Columbia Department of Corrections land -- also will be a site for the Herd to visit this fall, at the Patriot Invitational on Sept. 28-29, hosted by George Mason.
The other three tournaments for the Herd will offer plenty of challenge.
On Sept. 16-17, MU will play in the Piper intercollegiate at Stone Ridge in Bowling Green, Ohio. Grobe’s team returns to the Bearcat Invitational on Oct. 7-8, hosted by Cincinnati across the Ohio River at Traditions Golf Club in Hebron, Ky.
The fall season wraps with another return site from 2012, at the OBX/ODU Collegiate at Kilmarlic Golf Club in Powell Point, N.C., from Oct. 20-22.
“We’ll be playing some really good courses against good competition,” Grobe said. “Basically, we wanted to get onto good courses in tournament fields that will offer us a challenge before we looked to the spring, when you’ve got to be playing your best to get ready for the conference (USA) championships.”
Kerns’ senior season should show his former teammates how that progression can work. As a senior, Kerns played well in the fall, building some confidence and momentum toward the C-USA Championships, where a third-place finish helped vault him into an NCAA regional – only the third Herd golfer to reach the regionals in 25 years.
So, the 2013-14 Herd is polishing its game this summer, led by senior Brian Anania of Hurricane.
Anania finished tied for 10th (2-over 218) in the West Virginia Open last month at Parkersburg Country Club, where Herd teammate Jeremy Rogers of Buckhannon was in a tie for 19th (6-over 222).
Then, Anania received an invitation to the prestigious 113th North and South Amateur at famed Pinehurst, where the MU senior’s 3-over 145 missed the cut for the match play preliminaries by one shot.
Herd sophomore Logan Lagodich of Canton finished in a tie for eighth (where Kerns was among that group, too) in the Mid-Ohio Amateur – another title Kerns won a summer ago. Fellow Ohioan Jake Miller – a Herd junior – joined Kerns in this week’s Amateur, and shot a 154 but missed the cut.
“We’ve got a bunch of our guys trying to qualify for the U.S. Amateur (which Anania did last year),” Grobe said. “That, and the West Virginia Amateur is coming up, and we have four in the field there.”
That list includes Anania, Rogers, Davey Jude and one of Grobe’s two 2013-14 signees, Will Evans of Charleston. The Amateur is scheduled Aug. 5-8 at The Greenbrier.
Rogers finished third and Anania fourth in last year’s State Amateur.
The other Herd signee, Clark Robinson of South Windsor, Conn., by way of IMG Academy in Florida, already has played in his State Amateur.
Robinson qualified for the 111th Connecticut Amateur Championship with a 5-under 65 at Madison CC to grab that site’s medal. In the Amateur’s match play, 24th-seeded Robinson lost in the round of 32 at New Haven Country Club.