Tyler Cook

After placing 10th in the first two rounds of the Columbia Orthopedic Group Mizzou Intercollegiate, the Ball State men's golf team improved to a fifth-place tie to end the tournament Tuesday.

The Cardinals finished with an overall score of 931 (+67) to tie with UALR and De Paul. Missouri, the host of the tournament, came out on top with a first place score of 900. Second place Eastern Michigan placed well behind the front-runner at 922, while Nebraska and Xavier tied for third with a 923.

Sophomore Alex Stinson led Ball State with a score of 222, which was good enough for third place individually.

Stinson returned to the lineup for the first time since the Big Red Shootout on Feb. 5, replacing sophomore Tony Lazzara.

Coach David Fleck said he was impressed with the sophomore's performance.

"He earned his way in," he said. "If we didn't have him in the lineup, I'm not sure where we would have finished."

Strong winds and severe weather had a significant impact on the tournament's conditions. Stinson said his focus was key in overcoming the weather.

"Patience was what I needed, especially with how tough conditions were," Stinson said. "I had to realize that bogeys were going to be made and pars were good scores. I had to realize that 54 holes is a long grind, and that you don't earn it or lose it in one shot."

Sophomore Joe Gasser finished in a tie for 23rd with a score of 18-over-par 234. Senior Eric Steger was one stroke behind him with a 19-over 235, good enough for 30th. Freshman Tyler Merkel finished in a tie for 58th with a 24-over 240. Junior TJ Carpenter rounded out the lineup in a tie for 80th with a 39-over score of 255.

Ball State will play in the Hoosier Invitational on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.