Ashland University's men's golf team enjoys starting its season at the Jefferson Country Club in Blacklick, Ohio.
For the second year in a row, the Eagle men played in the season-opening Ohio Dominican University Kickoff Classic. And for the second year in a row, the results were to Ashland's liking, as the team finished in fifth place in the 14-team field after 36 holes on Tuesday (Sept. 4).
The Eagles ended the day at 303-295—598. Indianapolis won the team title at 280-286—566, followed by Findlay (293-291—584) and Otterbein (289-295—584) in a tie for second place.
Last season, the Eagles finished tied for third in the 17-team field at 289-307—596.
Sophomore Ben Jones turned in a strong first tournament of the new campaign, finishing in a tie for fourth place individually at 1-under 72-71—143. Jones birdied four holes (Nos. 2, 7, 14 and 15) in the first round, then came back and recorded five birds (Nos. 1, 4, 7, 8 and 15) in round No. 2.
The Eagles' breakout day was turned in by senior Cole Smith, who, despite playing as an individual and not counting in AU's team score, finished in a tie for 10th place at 2-over 78-68—146. In that second-round 68, Smith landed an eagle on hole No. 10, and added birdies on Nos. 4, 7 and 13.
Following Jones and Smith was senior Austin Kondratick, who placed in a tie for 19th at 75-74—149. Kondratick ended the day with five birdies, four during the second round.
Rounding out the team effort were redshirt freshman Luke Tanner (tied for 27th, 78-74—152), junior Patrick Steffen (tied for 33rd, 78-76—154) and sophomore Hunter Lowder (tied for 58th, 78-86—164). Also playing as an individual was sophomore Ben Koshmider (tied for 45th, 77-81—158).
Ashland's men will compete in the Ohio Cup on Saturday (Sept. 8) at Red Hawk Run Golf Course in Findlay.