John Hahn of Kent State is an All-American golfer whose athletic virtues have him being compared to a baseball player by someone who knows him well.
''To me, he is like a relief pitcher. He has a short memory,'' said Golden Flashes coach Herb Page, whose team will be competing this week in an NCAA Division I regional at Virginia Tech. ''If he has a bad shot or a bad hole, he forgets about it and moves on.
''Technically, he has all the shots. But his mental game is what sets him apart. He has this belief in himself. I can't tell you how important that is in golf.''
Hahn, a senior from Hudson whose career compares to the best in the history of the storied golf program at Kent State, has disagreed with Page at times, but not this time.
''There are five guys on our golf team that have more talent than I do, quite honestly,'' Hahn said. ''It comes down to hard work and being tough mentally. I have a belief in myself. I feel I belong out there and that I have the ability to play under pressure.
''I have seen great players. I have been around great players. I have played with great players. In the back of my mind, I knew the entire time I could play with them. I know I have to have confidence.''
Hahn was a three-time state qualifier at Hudson High School under then-coach Rob Yanko in the mid-2000s and was rated No. 22 in the country by National Junior Golf Scorecard.
He was heavily recruited and choose KSU over Wake Forest to stay local and play for Page, a legendary coach now in his 33rd season at Kent State.
Hahn has never regretted that decision, especially because Page has developed his skills, like he has so many others.
''I did like the idea of going to school at Wake Forest. I thought they had a nice history and you get better weather,'' Hahn said. ''But I wanted to stay around people I had been around.
''I had known Herb Page for years . . . and he has really taught me a lot. He can be a difficult guy to play for because he grinds on you. But he gets the most out of you. I have said that numerous times. It is no secret to him. He has motivated me and the guys on the team.''
Hahn, 22, said Page took his positives and left them alone and took his negatives and changed them.
''There was no major overhaul of my golf swing. Herb worked on tightening up my game, hitting shots with different trajectories, things like that,'' said Hahn, who is 5-foot-101/2 and 185 pounds. ''The thing he helped me with the most was my putting. He taught me a lot about putting.''
The choice of Kent State and Herb Page has produced results that have been somewhat otherworldly for Hahn.
He was named Mid-American Conference player of the year three times (freshman, sophomore and senior seasons). He is the first KSU player to earn that distinction and just the third in conference history to do so.
He has won seven tournament titles in his career, tying the school record held by Eric Frishette (1990-94). And he has been honorable mention All-American twice, with more such honors expected in the near future.
''He has put up some amazing numbers. The tougher the shot, the easier he makes it look,'' Page said. ''His work ethic and passion for the game is unparalleled. I am a huge fan.''
Hahn said one of his prime motivations in college has been to duplicate and surpass the accomplishments of past KSU players, especially three-time All-American Ben Curtis, a member of the PGA Tour and champion of the 2003 British Open.
Besides Hahn and Curtis, KSU has had 12 other All-Americans. The Golden Flashes have won 19 MAC titles, including 2011, and have been in the NCAA regionals 21 times, including 2011.
There have been 14 appearances in the NCAA Championship tournament, with a sixth-place national finish when Hahn was a freshman in 2008 being the best showing.
''I am a student of history. I followed the different records set by the players here and I wanted to break them,'' said Hahn, who graduated last Saturday with a bachelor's degree in business management. ''Ben has laid the groundwork, that's for sure. But the guys back in the '70s and '80s started the history of the program and Herb Page has driven it to a prominent national level.
''When I came into the program, I said there is no reason that I can't do many of the same things. That's what I wanted to do.''
In 2010-11, he has won four individual tournament titles, which ties him for first in the nation among Division I players.
In late April, he finished second to teammate Mackenzie Hughes in helping the Flashes to a 29-stroke victory in the MAC Tournament at TPC at River's Bend in Maineville, Ohio.
That gave 33rd-ranked Kent State an automatic berth in the NCAA regionals. On Monday night, the NCAA announced the teams and site locations, showing that the Flashes will be headed to the Pete Dye River Course in Radford, Va., to play Thursday through Saturday.
There are 13 teams in the regional and the top five move to the national finals May 31-June 5 at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.
''We are playing with a lot of confidence and playing as well as anybody right now,'' said Hahn, the 2008 MAC freshman of the year and a first-team all-MAC selection four times. ''We have won three of our last five events. We are peaking at the right time and we are ready for the challenge.''
With the end of his Kent State career near, Hahn is facing a future that he has been preparing for since he was 3 years old. That's when he was hitting balls 50 yards over the fence of his Columbus home with a Wilson driver shortened by his father, a longtime sales rep in the golf industry.
A summer full of tournaments will include a chance to improve on his performance in the U.S. Amateur, where he made the round of 16 in 2010 before being eliminated.
Hahn also is a candidate to make the United States team in the prestigious Walker Cup tournament. He is one of 16 amateurs competing for 10 spots in the event, which pits the U.S. against Great Britain Sept. 10-11 at Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland.
His plans are to turn pro in mid-September and then compete in Qualifying School in the fall in an attempt to get his card for the PGA Tour or the developmental Nationwide Tour.
''I want to play on tour more than anything in the world,'' Hahn said. ''I think about it every day. It's the driving force in my life right now.''
That, and doing his best imitation of a relief pitcher.