Penguins Finish Ninth at Firestone Invitational

Ken Keller (Photo by Drae Smith)
Ken Keller (Photo by Drae Smith)

Akron, Ohio - The Youngstown State men's golf team finished ninth on Tuesday in the 2019 Firestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club's North Course.

The Penguins concluded the event with a three-round team total of 884 after recording a final-round 298 on Tuesday. After a 299 in Monday's first round, the team improved 12 shots with a one-under-par 287 in the second session that had them in seventh place after day one. YSU finished in front of six other teams including fellow Horizon League-member IUPUI, who placed 15th.

Ken Keller paced the Penguins with a three-round 218 (75-71-72) to finish two over par and tied for 18th. The junior's first-round 75 included 12 pars and three birdies as he made par or better on nine of his last 10 holes. He ended his first round with back-to-back birdies on No. 12 and No. 13. Keller followed that with a one-under-par 71 that saw him make 11 pars and four birdies. He made par or better on 11 of his final 12 holes, and birdied three of his last five to play his final nine at three under par.

Keller put together another solid round on Tuesday with an even-par 72 that featured 11 pars, two birdies and an eagle. The junior carded two birdies over his first five holes, and capped off his round with an eagle on the par-five No. 18 to finish one under par on the back nine. Keller has earned a top-20 finish in each of YSU's first three events this season. His three-round 218 ranks as the second-lowest 54-hole mark of his career.

Kevin Scherr recorded a three-round total of 223 (78-70-75) to finish in a tie for 41st. After a difficult first round, the junior responded with an impressive two-under-par 70 in the second session. After beginning his round with a bogey, he went on to make 14 pars and three birdies the rest of the way. Scherr also had a strong finish in Tuesday's final round as he played the back nine at even par with seven pars and a birdie on No. 13. He finished the event ranked tied for fourth in par-four scoring (3.97, -1) and pars (39).

Cole Christman fired a three-round 224 (71-77-76) to finish tied for 46th. The freshman's one-under-par 71 in the first round featured 15 pars and a pair of birdies on No. 16 and No. 18. After two pars and two birdies over his first four holes, he made 13 straight pars before ending his round with a bogey at No. 14. Christman was even through 15 holes in the second round before suffering a bogey and a triple bogey over his last three.

Bryan Kordupel finished one stroke behind Christman in a tie for 49th with a three-round 225 (75-73-77). The sophomore's one-over-par 73 in the second round included 11 pars, two birdies and an eagle on the par-five No. 5. After bogeying two of his first three holes, he made par or better on each of the next seven and on 13 of his last 15. Kordupel notched five birdies in the first round and four in the third round.

Zack Ford concluded the tournament with a three-round score of 228 (80-73-75) to tie for 59th. After a rocky first round, the junior bounced back with a one-over 73 in the second round. Ford started his second round with a birdie on No. 16, and went on to make par or better on each of his first 11 holes to get to three under par. He was two under after a birdie on No. 13, but ended the round with a triple bogey on No. 14 and a par on No. 15. Ford eagled the par-five No. 5 during Monday's first round.

South Carolina Aiken won the tournament by one stroke with a three-round team total of 857 (-7). Santa Clara and Bowling Green each posted an 858 (-6) to finish as the runners-up while the host Akron and Drexel rounded out the top five. The Pacers took a one-shot lead into Tuesday's third round, and were able to survive furious final-round charges from both the Broncos and Falcons. Santa Clara was nine strokes off the lead in fourth place after two rounds while Bowling Green was 14 shots back in sixth. The Broncos shot a 283 (-5) on Tuesday and the Falcons fired a 278 (-11) as each came close to pulling off an impressive comeback victory.

Akron's Fabian Sunden earned medalist honors at eight under par with a 208 (72-66-70), marking the first time an Akron player has won the event. Sunden's six-under-par 66 in the second round was the lowest individual single-round score of the event. South Carolina Aiken's Leo Johansson was the runner-up with a 209 (73-67-69).

Youngstown State will be back in action next Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 7-8) when it competes in The Health Plan Mountaineer Invitational hosted by West Virginia at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W. Va.

For news and updates throughout the fall season, follow @YSUMensGolf on Twitter.